Eric Church, Carrie Underwood + Joan Jett & More Bring Dynamic Sets to Night Two of 2019 CMA Fest

Night two at Nissan Stadium for 2019 CMA Fest was defined by high energy. While rain-soaked fans braved the wet weather on Thursday, Mother Nature was kinder to patrons on Friday (June 7), who reveled in diverse performances by Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett and Jo Dee Messina.

Night two at Nissan Stadium for 2019 CMA Fest was defined by high energy. While rain-soaked fans braved the wet weather on Thursday, Mother Nature was kinder to patrons on Friday (June 7), who reveled in diverse performances by Carrie Underwood, Eric Church, Little Big Town, Dan + Shay, Thomas Rhett and Jo Dee Messina.

Little Big Town performs at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 7 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA

Little Big Town hit the stage with their trademark harmonies and positive spirits, setting the tone with the summer party anthem “Pontoon.” After a performance of the thoughtful “Better Man,” the quartet of Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet brought us to the “Boondocks,” beginning the journey with their haunting harmonies layered over storming, heavy drums, making a stadium full of people believe in their pride for where they come from, later making their way through the crowd while chanting “you get a line, I’ll get a pole, we’ll go fishing in the craw fish hole, five-card poker on a Saturday night, church on Sunday morning.” “Now we are in the boondocks out here with the party crowd,” Fairchild observed from an intimate stage in the middle of pit where they then asked fans to light up the night sky with their flashlights in honor of the important “The Daughters” before putting their magic touch over the audience with “Girl Crush,” ending their set on a captivating note.

Dan + Shay performs at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 7 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA

Dan + Shay brought a sense of appreciation to their six-song collection that opened with the breezy “All to Myself” and highlighted early hits “How Not To” and “From the Ground Up.” “We dreamed our entire lives about being a part of country music,” the duo’s Dan Smyers shared from the foot of the stage overlooking the awe-inspiring crowd. “I just want to soak in every single second of this moment.” His reflective words introduced “Tequila,” the career-defining hit they had performed at the festival one year prior not long after its release, a song that has stadiums full of people matching them lyric for lyric. Like the hit making duo, Rhett kept the crowd in good sprits with his multitude of beloved tracks. A horn section helped kick off the opening anthem “Crash and Burn,” Rhett setting the stadium in motion as he asked fans to jump up and down during the final chorus. He had the crowd in the palm of his hand for the duration of his set, whether they were soaking in each word to “Die a Happy Man,” celebrating the surprise appearance of Jon Pardi on their collaboration “Beer Can’t Fix” or dancing along to “Unforgettable” and “T-Shirt.”

Eric Church performs at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 7 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA

When Church entered the stage solo, it was the first indication something unique was about to take place. Never one to conform, The Chief treated his set like a condensed version of his live show, packing a record 14 songs into his 30-minute slot, giving new identities to his biggest hits and revered deep cuts. After opening with the track that’s  become a staple on his Double Down Tour, “Mistress Named Music,” Church barely took a breath between more than a dozen songs, giving “Drink in My Hand” a lighter flavor,” delivering the soulful “Mr. Misunderstood,” highlighting the nostalgia in “Talladega” and giving a bluesy treatment to “Smoke a Little Smoke.” “All bets are off when I flip her over one bourbon, one scotch, one beer, I’m havin’ a record year,” the crowd chanted back to him during “Record Year” before he owned his truth on “Sinners Like Me” and slithered through “Creepin.’” The stadium filled with the gentle sound of “whoa-oh-oh-oh” as Church put “Springsteen” in the spotlight, bringing his compelling performance full circle with a reprise of “Mistress Named Music,” the transfixed audience rewarding him with an extended standing ovation.  

Carrie Underwood performs at Nissan Stadium on Friday, June 7 during the 2019 CMA Music Festival in downtown Nashville. Photo courtesy of CMA

In typical fashion, Underwood brought the night to a
close with her powerful stage presence, coming out full force with “Last Name”
and staying in that energy by holding her own on electric guitar for “Church
Bells.” “How about we rock this CMA Fest,” Underwood declared, a proclamation
she meant literally as she surprised the crowd with an appearance from Joan
Jett. The rock icon and country superstar ignited the stadium with a series of Jett’s
hits including “I Hate Myself For Loving You,” “Bad Reputation” and “I Love
Rock ‘n’ Roll,” bringing a fierce dynamic to the country music-themed festival.
Underwood made room for her powerhouse voice to fly on “Blown Away” before
delivering a message of inspiration with “Love Wins,” ending the night with a
stadium sing-along to the hit that helped launch her superstar status, the echo
of her enduring final note on “Before He Cheats” following the thousands of
fans as they exited the stadium on a musical high.

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