It was an overcast Wednesday evening in Boston, Massachusetts as country music infiltrated one of the most iconic baseball stadiums in the world, Fenway Park.
On the first of three consecutive nights in the middle of one of the most white-collar cities in America, the crowd was ravenous for one man, even without his signature mullet: Morgan Wallen.
In a part of the U.S. that none would normally associate with country music, Fenway Park was fraught with cowboy hates, boots, fringe and cutoffs as far as the eye could see as a WWE-like announcer came over the speakers to introduce the band and set the stage for Wallen's big entrance. Opening with his 2018 hit, 'Up Down,' which originally features Florida Georgia Line, and one of his newer tunes, 'I Wrote the Book,' Wallen didn't waste time to dish out some of his thanks.
"I appreciate the kind welcome. If those first two songs are any indication, I think we're about to have a damn good night tonight," he noted. "This is badass, man. I opened here in 2018 for Luke Bryan. We played at about 5 o'clock and there weren't a lot of people here. It's incredible to see the difference from that year and what I came out on stage to tonight. Thank you guys so much for making that happen."
Adding that there was another reason for the night being special, he added: "This is also a big night for me, not just because I'm playing Fenway, but my little boy is here and he's never been out of state for a concert. I need y'all to at least pretend to like me so he thinks I'm a cool dad. Seriously though, thank you guys so much for being here."
Wallen sailed into the tour's namesake, 'One Thing At a Time' and his newest single to country radio, 'Everything I Love,' before playing one of the night's most fitting songs, the baseball-themed ''98 Braves.' The Atlanta fan shared, "[I'm going to play this song] in one of the most iconic venues for baseball in the world," which earned a roar of cheers from the crowd of Red Sox fans, despite their opposing teams of choice.
Cruising through his 25-song set, whether it be the No. 1s of 'You Proof,' 'Wasted On You,' 'More Than My Hometown' and 'Chasin' You;' the fiery 'Heartless' and 'Ain't That Some;' older tunes like 'Still Goin' Down' and 'The Way I Talk;' the more stripped down moments of 'Cover Me Up' and 'Sand in My Boots;' or the special tribute songs in 'Dying Man' and 'Thought You Should Know,' the Boston crowd made every song their favorite. Based on the passion and fervor they screamed every one with, you would've never known that each song wasn't already a tried and true hit.
As the show was reaching a fever pitch, Wallen turned it up a notch, bringing out HARDY for their 'He Went to Jared' duet, fit with plenty of fire and a pair of shotgunned beers. ERNEST also made his way back onto the stage for their 'Cowgirls' collaboration, which saw the audience dancing along with utter glee.
Reemerging for the encore, Wallen was decked out in Red Sox attire as he mentioned that he currently had the biggest song on both the country charts and the all-genre Billboard Hot 100.
"Not only is this the biggest song in country music, but it's the biggest song in every genre in America. This is the first time that I've been able to say that in my career," he shared. "I appreciate you guys connecting with my music the way you have and allowing me to say that. So since that's the case, I expect to hear y'all real loud on this one. Okay?"
The crowd came through for his request, easily shattering the decibel level that most doctors would say is safe for your ears.
Love him or hate him, Morgan Wallen is, simply put, changing the country genre. With a frenzied fandom that rivals those of Taylor Swift, Beyonce and BTS, there are few other country artists that can claim anywhere close to the level of undying support that Wallen can.
Regardless of where you sit on the spectrum of staunch hater to dedicated loyalist, there's no denying that Morgan Wallen is the modern day country superstar... and if nothing else, he's single-handedly making new country music fans every day in the least likely places. And we will always say hats off to that!
Morgan Wallen - Setlist
Taken from his set at Fenway Park in Boston, MA on Wednesday, August 16th 2023:
For more on Morgan Wallen, see below: