Amidst a sea full of cowboy hats and boots galore at Boston's historic Fenway Park, genre-bender HARDY took the whole stadium by storm, bringing his grungy, in-your-face rock show front and center on Wednesday night (August 16).
Following solid sets from newcomers ERNEST and Bailey Zimmerman, HARDY spent his coveted one hour time slot ahead of headliner Morgan Wallen slipping seamlessly from rock to country and back again. From his first official rock song, 'Sold Out,' the Mississippian made his presence known and set the tone for what the remainder of the night would consist of.
Ticking off tunes from his behemoth, dichotomous album released earlier this year, the mockingbird & THE CROW, HARDY shredded his way through 'Kill Sh!t Til I Die,' 'Jack,' '.30-06' and his current high-flying single 'Truck Bed,' all while prancing around the stage and thrashing his head to the metal-laced beat.
On the more country side, the Fenway crowd jumped along to his rock-leaning 'Boots,' the aptly named 'Unapologetically Country As Hell,' older tunes like 'Rednecker' and '4X4,' as well as his pair of country chart-toppers – 'One Beer' and 'wait in the truck.' Although the incomparable Lainey Wilson wasn't on hand for the award-winning duet, a pre-recorded video of her singing lit up the video screens on either side of the stage, and the audience picked up the slack with their booming choir of voices, too.
"I was in a crazy tour bus accident back in October," HARDY recalled for the Boston crew. "I only tell this story because I want to make a very important point. The point is that that wreck was the first time in life that I actually thought I was going to die. I started thinking about people who go through that on a daily basis like our first responders and our military. If you are one of those people, I want you to know that we support you guys and we love you guys," he said, thanking all of those in attendance.
Setting the scene for his gut wrenchingly cathartic anthem, 'Give Heaven Some Hell,' he added: "If you have someone in your life that you love and miss that you've lost, I want you to know that for the next three and a half minutes, I wrote this song for you."
Before wrapping up his slot at Fenway Park, HARDY shared some of his story to getting to the famed venue. Explaining how he moved to Nashville at the age of 19 with the hopes of making it as a songwriter, he noted that his first small taste of success came with Wallen and Florida Georgia Line's 2018 tune, 'Up Down.'
"I wrote a song a few months later that changed my life forever," he shared before singing his own version of Blake Shelton's 'God's Country.' "I'm proud of this song not because of what it did for me but because of what it stands for, which is pride for where you come from. At the end of the day, I come from the United States of America, which is the greatest country in the world!"
Taking the stage alone and armed with just an electric guitar, HARDY paced his way through his autobiographical, split-genre banger, 'the mockingbird & THE CROW.' As the midpoint of the song came, the rest of band rejoined him on stage as they sailed into its cutthroat rock ending.
Since HARDY first came onto the scene as an artist, he has been pushing boundaries and breaking genre barriers without fail. With the wave of likeminded artists alongside him, the most notable of which being the megastar that is Jelly Roll, it's evident that what HARDY is doing in the country genre and beyond is beginning to forge new paths unlike any we've seen before.
With only an hour to deliver a cross-section of his complex artistry, his Boston supporting slot only served as a teaser for what we should expect on his own headlining tour later this fall... and we look forward to screaming our lungs out there, too.
HARDY - Setlist
Taken from his set at Fenway Park in Boston, MA on Wednesday, August 16th 2023:
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