The atmosphere within the Hordern Pavilion was electric. The crowd was waiting with anticipation for Florida Georgia Line to take the stage. FGL did not disappoint. They exploded on stage with their hit song It’z Just What We Do personalising it by adding in “Sydney!” into the lyrics of the track. It was a great party starter. Throughout the whole set, the duo, consisting of Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley, kept the crowd engaged. Next, the boys sung their hit song Round Here. This was my introduction to FGL years ago, watching the music video on the Country Music Channel. The duo were amazed with the amount of lyrics that the crowd knew, with Hubbard stating, “you never know if anyone will listen to your music, so it’s amazing to have people on the other side of the world singing along to every word.” They then left us to sing a whole chorus, with each line intensifying. Their faces were priceless.
Hubbard and Kelley continued with hit songs such as Party People, Anything Goes and Smile, jumping into the crowd during Party People. Stay was next. My favourite track from their debut album Here’s To The Good Times. Live, it didn’t disappoint. The guitar line was wicked! The audience sang along passionately throughout the whole song and the whole energy increased. The next song was Confession and coincidently, my favourite song from their sophomore album Anything Goes. It is also FGL’s latest single and listening to it live was truly an amazing experience. The drum beat reverberated through your chest, maximising the impact the song had on you.
At this point Hubbard and Kelley started talking to the crowd. Hubbard said that this show was, “something special,” and they promised that they would be back on our shores soon, with new music in tow. The crowd went ballistic. By this point there weren’t just people on shoulders, but there were even people on the shoulders of the people on shoulders. They continued with Sippin’ On Fire and Dirt. These songs are two of my favourite FGL tracks (I’ll admit it… the first time I saw the video clip for Dirt, I cried). The guitar parts in these two songs, along with Confession, have always had a powerful impact on me. At the end of Dirt most of the instruments stopped and Hubbard and Kelley sung the chorus with their adoring fans. The crowd was roaring. Every word could be heard as clear as crystal. The boys then played one of their biggest tracks to date. The RIAA 3x Platinum hit, This Is How We Roll. This is such a great party/feel good track, you can’t help but rock out along to this song.
They then had a chat about the Summer heat which was an awesome lead in to their next song
Sun Daze. Kelley put on his sunnies during mid track with the crowd breezing through the song. It’s such a fun and upbeat track that suited the Australian weather and lifestyle to a tee. We got our lighters/phone flashlights out for Get Your Shine On, and looking around the room, seeing so many lights was just incredibly enchanting. Two differing songs from the same artists, that bring out two different positive emotions… Brilliant.
The final song Cruise approached and we did not want the good times with FGL to end. Cruise is one of those songs that during this Summer heat, I wind down the window of my car and blast it (both versions of the song). By the end, it was a full on party. This time there were people on shoulders of people they’d only just met, and everyone was singing along. You could really tell how passionate Hubbard and Kelley are, how much they care about their music, how it has evolved and where its going, the energy reverberating around you. Add to that the passion from their fans. A true testament to their talent. Their voices are unique which I think is a massive strength for them. FGL have let the fans know about their upcoming album and saying that it will be a more personal album. I can’t wait to pre-order it. An extra bonus for Aussie fans, courtesy of Kelley’s social media, the duo have just filmed scenes for new music video, we’re hoping for their next single. No better location than this beautiful country of ours!
Leaving the room for the intermission I remembered that we were only half way through the concert. Florida Georgia Line had played a full set, and we were now only 30min away from country superstar, Jason Aldean. Counting down the minutes until it started with great excitement, (I wasn’t the only one) I was surprised when the lights dimmed 10 minutes early. This is the first time I can recall an artist starting their set early! An amazing intro ensued. I have to say, the lighting design for both FGL and Jason Aldean were spectacular. I also really liked the video footage, on the background screen, for both artists. I think it really brought something great to the concert, another level of interaction with the audience. A visual extravaganza.
Aldean started with his electrifying hit Just Gettin’ Started. The crowd went wild. Already I could tell that the party was continuing on from Florida Georgia Line. Next was, Gonna Know We’re Here, and Take a little Ride. Both of these songs lifted up the energy even more (if that was even possible!). Everyone was beaming, and singing along.
Aldean then thanked Florida Georgia Line and expressed how happy he was that he got the opportunity to do the concert with them for his first time in Australia. He signed off with, “for those of you who don’t know, my name is Jason Aldean, and now it’s my turn to have some fun with you guys,” to which a loud explosion of screaming broke from the crowd. Next up was, When She Says Baby, and Night Train. I honestly recommend seeing Jason Aldean live. I don’t say this very often but I have to make an exception for Jason Aldean, his live set, for me, is probably better than his albums. For example, take Night Train, it was just wonderful, completely elevated on stage.
Next was Big Green Tractor, Aldean’s second single from his album Wide Open. Everyone in the audience was going crazy. Aldean then said, “If tonight is any indication, we will be back.” He also seemed really excited about everyone knowing their songs and the fact the audience was singing lyrics back to them. Aldean then said he got a message from fellow country music singer, Keith Urban, a few days before the concert, to say hello. Upon hearing this the audience went wild! Aldean then continued by saying, “I know you guys here in Australia, you like to drink, party and have a good time, am I right? Ya’ll gotta be the craziest a** people we’ve probably ever played for.”
Aldean then sung Tattoo on this town, and Fly Over States, personalising them like, “Tattoo on this Australian Town” and “A girl from Sydney Oz.” It was probably the first time I’ve really heard the lyrics to the songs and they were both some of my favourites during the concert. Aldean passed it over to the crowd to sing certain parts, and the enthusiasm that everyone had was spectacular.
Tonight Looks Good On You appeared to definitely be a crowd favourite. Everyone just got louder, and more passionate as they sung along. During, The Only Way I Know, there was a really good positive energy with this song. Florida Georgia Line joined Jason Aldean on stage for the song, The Only Way I Know, which is originally sung by Luke Bryan and Eric Church. Hubbard and Kelley did a wonderful job. There were a group of people next to me who were REALLY enjoying the concert by now. They were having so much fun. To be honest, the atmosphere was infectious. It moved on to the next group, and they started dancing with the first group. It just maximised the energy even more.
1994 and Amarillo Sky were next. I really liked this track. It’s a song of Aldean’s that I was unfamiliar with. Since hearing it at the concert, it’s definitely worked its way up my playlist. Next was My Kinda Party. By this point the group next to me were really having a party jumping up and down. It was really enjoyable to see these people have so much fun, it was reflected in the song too. I have to mention, during this song the guitar solo was amazing, leaving the audience in awe. She’s Country was another crowd favourite. You can tell the bassist and guitarist have this awesome relationship, and you were taken in by the sound, really listening to the instruments, working in unison with Aldean,
I hadn’t ever heard Dirt Road Anthem so I was pleasantly surprised when Aldean started rapping. It was a really good song. Everyone went ballistic when it started. I had to take off my hat to the guy next to me, he knew the whole song by heart- including the rapping parts, matching Aldeans power. There was a point where it was just the audience singing, and it was crazy. Good vibes everywhere, everyone was dancing and waving their hands in the air. Overall, a great atmosphere.
Hicktown was next. Just when you thought everyone was already singing along, the energy reached another level, everyone, and I mean everyone, joined in for this. It’s such a fun song, easy to dance along to. I really liked the use of lighting during this song. The lights went up on the crowd a lot during this concert enveloping all. Aldean then started talking about the next song, particularly its origin. Burnin’ It Down is a song from his last album. He and FGL were touring together and in the process of recording their albums he received a song from them. They were finished recording their album and gave the song to him to listen to, and halfway through, he knew it was a song he definitely wanted to cut. He really liked that the boys write for themselves but that they also thought it was a song that would be cool for him, so they sent it his way which was really cool. He knew it was a song that when you hear it for the first time, you know its going to be special. At the point where Aldean and the band played the first bar the crowd went wild, hands were up in the air with the screaming intensifying. This is one of my favourite songs of his. Two women next to me who went crazy during this song, they just randomly burst with excitement and made me jolt for a second. They were having so much fun, singing and dancing along. It was great seeing that.
The Final song Crazy Town started and it was exactly that. Everyone was so pumped and the guitar part again was really awesome. It was a great song to end the night. Aldean is also bringing out a new Album, soon. Again, I am so excited for it’s impending release. Both Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line played a lengthy set, but it honestly didn’t feel long. I enjoyed it immensely.
Music is about expressing yourself and I really feel like country artists do this, and this is evident when it comes to the music of Jason Aldean and Florida Georgia Line. The energy I got from the whole concert was absolutely enthralling and the energy within the crowd was incredible, it’s something I see a lot when it comes to country music concerts.
– Barbara Papathanasopoulos
Images courtesy of Any Other Day Photography