Florida Georgia Line / Nelly / Chris Lane / Ryan Hurd @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights, MO

Words and photos by Duane Clawson
Unless you’ve been off the grid for the past five years, you’ve probably heard this band called Florida Georgia Line. A Nelly remix of the duo’s original composition, “Cruise”, rescued the group from the stagnant, bro-country swamp.  And tonight, Florida Georgia Line just happened to be in Nelly’s hometown.  This is going to be fun!

Ryan Hurd, a former behind the scenes songwriter, takes his shot at the spotlight, kicking off this rollicking good time of a show.  Hurd has written and had his songs recorded by Blake Shelton, Tim McGraw, and Florida Georgia Line.  The lanky, long-haired performer only had a four-song set, but seems well-received during his limited engagement.

Following Hurd is bro-country protégé, Chris Lane.  On Lane’s website, he cites Florida Georgia Line as a mentor, taking him on the road before anyone knew his name.  Chris’s sound almost moves into another category of country music, something like the Backstreet Boys do country!  His falsetto voice, good looks, and positive fan interaction, leave an indelible mark on St. Louis.

Almost 17 years to the day, Nelly released Country Grammar, the groundbreaking album that put him on the map.  Tonight, he would celebrate in style with his beloved hometown fans.  The opening notes of “St. Louie” brought fans to their feet, and they would remain there for the next 50 minutes.

The evening's chosen setlist was a greatest hits medley of all things Nelly.  Of course, “Country Grammar” was in the mix, as well as “Air Force Ones” and “E.I.”.  Wanting to make his return to St. Louis special, the rapper brought 10-year-old Emma onstage, serenading her with his hit, “Over and Over”.  Finishing off his night, the rhyme master performed a song that could very well sum up his career to date, “Just a Dream”.

The chorus of Florida Georgia Line’s opener, “Anything Goes”, pretty much represents the current flavor in country music, vanilla.  But Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard, collectively known as Florida Georgia Line, are going to twirl it in a hurry!  19,000 fans also believe the same.  From the onset, there is something different at this country show.  A bit more bass in the P.A., a bit more of everything.  With a light show that rivals what one might find at a KISS or Motley Crue concert, Florida Georgia Line reminds you this isn’t your dad’s country.

A Sunday night is usually time to wind down before the work week.  To Florida Georgia Line, it’s just another excuse to party on the Smooth Tour.  Taking swigs from tour sponsor’s, Old Camp Whiskey, the duo moves swiftly through a well-crafted, 18-song list.  The band's stage is rarely calm but the boys do slow it down briefly for ballads, “Holy” and “Dirt”.  The smart, St. Louis concert goers knew “Get Your Shine On” would not be the end of the night.

As great as it was to see Nelly live, there was still something missing!  Oh, that’s right, where was, “Hot In Herre”?  Nelly said "hold my Courvoisier, St. Louis.  I got an encore for ya!"  The amphitheater went insane when Nelly and the St. Lunatics threw down everything they had.  After singing backup on Nelly’s hit, Hubbard and Kelly returned to the front of the stage one last time.  When the final notes of “Cruise” left the speakers, I thought to myself, “you know what? This bro-country isn’t too shabby”.  Thanks to Florida Georgia Line and Live Nation for allowing MTC to be a part of this evening!  Photos of the show are below:

Ryan Hurd
Chris Lane
Nelly
Florida Georgia Line
Contributed by Duane Clawson
Florida Georgia Line / Nelly / Chris Lane / Ryan Hurd @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights, MO Florida Georgia Line / Nelly / Chris Lane / Ryan Hurd @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre, Maryland Heights, MO Reviewed by Scott Rowe, Editor on 1:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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