PANAMA CITY BEACH, Fla. — The release of Luke Bryan’s latest EP, Spring Break 3: It’s a Shore Thing means one thing for college students: Spring break 2011 has officially begun.
Bryan’s spring break concerts have become so successful, event organizers added a second date to this year’s visit. He’ll perform again at the Spinnaker Beach Club on Wednesday.
Bryan released Spring Break With All My Friends in 2009 and Spring Break 2: Hangover Edition in 2010. Coinciding with the latest addition to the series, Tuesday (March 8) marked Bryan’s third consecutive year to perform at the Spinnaker Beach Club during spring break at Panama City Beach. His latest video, “It’s a Shore Thing,” was filmed there during last year’s spring break.
Dressed in shorts, shades, T-shirt, ball cap and flip flops — much like the fans who came to see him — Bryan treated the crowd of sun-baked tourists and locals to more than two hours of music.
Opening his set with “Country Man,” Bryan bounced effortlessly through the show with his off-the-wall, yet somehow appropriate, song choices. In addition to his own material, he incorporated songs made famous by Jason Aldean, Brooks & Dunn, Alabama, David Allan Coe and even some rap and heavy metal artists.
“This is the funnest thing I get to do all year!” Bryan told the audience as the band kicked off the Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker.”
Moments later, he jokingly started rapping a line or two, and fans let him know they approved.
“So, that’s what ya’ll wanna do, huh?” he said. Before you knew it, Bryan used his Georgia twang to propel songs by Eminem, Iyaz and Nelly.
“We put out this spring break EP, and it means so much to me to look at and see you guys singing along,” he said.
The crowd was definitely the singalong type. The transition from Cee Lo Green’s “Forget You” to his own “We Rode in Trucks” proved how diverse both Bryan and his fans are in their musical tastes.
“This next song, you’re going to hear on the radio. It’s a real serious song about life-changing events. It’s talking about country girls shaking it a little bit,” Bryan joked as they rolled into “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).”
Bryan’s idea of tapping into the spring break market seems to be paying off. As he sang album tracks that were never released to radio, his audience knew every word to every carefree song.
The sun had almost set when Bryan looked up at the large American flag flying overhead and asked the crowd if they wanted to hear “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Screams turned to silence and hats came off as he led the crowd in a song that isn’t normally performed during the middle of a concert.
Before ending the show, Bryan once again illustrated how easily songs from different genres and eras mesh together. After successfully inserting Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” into the middle of “All My Friends Say,” the show came to a close. Almost.
Chants of “one more song” filled the air, and he quickly complied by returning to the stage to sing Brooks & Dunn’s “Play Something Country.”
Bryan will be playing quite a bit of country in the months ahead. Finishing up Rascal Flatts’ Unstoppable tour with shows Saturday (March 12) in Oklahoma City and Sunday (March 13) in New Orleans, he’ll join Tim McGraw’s Emotional Traffic tour on April 8.View photos from Luke Bryan’s spring break concert.