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It was a country trifecta at Power Balance with country scene newbies Thompson Square and seasoned star Darius Rucker opening for the award-winning country pop trio.
Clad in his signature t-shirt and baseball hat (later tossed to a lucky fan), the Hootie and the Blowfish lead vocalist riled up the crowd with a mix of his current solo sensations and throwback jams from his Hootie days.
Rucker took fans back in time with Hootie Classics “I Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand" and even further with a nod to Hank Williams Jr., covering his drinking (and smoking) anthem “Family Tradition.”
Fans sang along to the feel-good “Alright” and current radio hit “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” along with break up ballads “Come Back Song” and “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.”
Although the lyrics claim that “Girls out in California...just don’t understand,” hearts melted when Rucker crooned about chivalry in “Southern State of Mind” and crazy girls in “The Craziest Thing.”
Sending the crowd into a frenzy, Rucker exited with a cover of Prince’s infamous “Purple Rain.”
It was hard to believe that the main act hadn’t even yet taken the stage when yet another highlight of the night took place during intermission.
Before the band’s arrival onstage, the audience participated in the “Lady Antebellum Dance Party.”
Cameras captured multiple “dance-offs” taking place throughout the audience. The more-than-deserving winner was upgraded to the “the inner circle” just in time for Lady A.
While it was hard to top the excitement of the dance party, Lady A didn’t disappoint.
Keeping the energy high, the trio entered with “We Owned the Night,” a single from the tour’s namesake album, “Own the Night,” and invited the audience to help sing their pop-heavy “Star’s Tonight.”
To set the ambience for the soulful “Dancin’ Away with My Heart,” lead female vocalist Hillary Scott asked the crowd to light up their cellphones. Within seconds, the audience had the Pavilion glittering.
Enamored with their fans, Scott invited two eager young sisters on stage to help her sing “American Honey.” The frantic pre-teens were able to stop their tears long enough to serenade Scott with every lyric.
Continuing the fan love, Scott made her way down into the crowd to collect a bouquet from a young fan during “Our Kind of Love” and thanked the show-goers for making their dream of headlining a sold-out arena tour come true.
While Scott stole the audience’s hearts, there was enough love to go around for the whole band.
Shouts of “I love you” interrupted “Hello World,” sang by male lead Charles Kelley with Dave Haywood on (a pink) piano.
The evening culminated with a show-stopping, star-studded jam sesh.
Thompson Square, Rucker and Lady Antebellum reconvened onstage and funked it up with a cover of the Doobie Brothers “Black Water” and Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”
Lady Antebellum took back the reigns with a finale of fan favorites, including the band’s very first single, “I Run To You,” and lead single “Just a Kiss.”
The crowd couldn’t get enough of Lady A and, after a quick wardrobe change, they (thankfully) reappeared with an encore of 2011’s hit single “Need You Now.”
Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker owned the night.
After a short hiatus, the troupe heads to Molini, Ill. on April 5. See tour information here.
Photo credit: Steven Chea, Steven Chea Photography