Miranda Lambert, Brad Paisley, Chris Young, Sara Evans and the Doobie Brothers were among the hundreds who survived Sony Music Nashville’s concert and cruise on the General Jackson showboat in Nashville. The invitation-only event is one of several highlights during the annual Country Radio Seminar, and heavy rain, wind and dark of night were unlikely to impact the festivities.
As it turned out, there were no problems whatsoever during Thursday night’s (Feb. 20) event, although plenty of jokes were made throughout the evening about the ominous weather conditions and the fact that everyone had gathered together on a boat docked on the Cumberland River in downtown Nashville.
Radio personality Gerry House, who hosted the evening, took advantage of the situation by walking onstage in a life preserver. Cleverly rewording an old joke often repeated prior to TV tapings, He told the crowd, “If you’re not with someone you want to die with, you might want to switch tables right now. There’s 70 mile per hour winds.”
During his brief set that included “The Mona Lisa,” Paisley also joked about the weather conditions.
“There was an email sent to all of us at Sony that said the safest place to be in a storm was on the General Jackson. … It’s Armageddon out there this evening, and we’re all on a boat,” he said.
Lambert performed “Mama’s Broken Heart” and her new single “Automatic” before Sony Nashville chairman and CEO Gary Overton presented her with a plaque commemorating the platinum certification of each of her first four albums.
House tried unsuccessfully to convince Blake Shelton, Lambert’s husband, to make a guest appearance onstage, but he opted to watch the show from one of the upper decks of the boat.
It appeared as though Young was to close the show, but after singing “Who I Am With You” and “Aw Naw,” he introduced the Doobie Brothers as this year’s surprise guest.
With Doobie Brothers members Tom Johnston, Patrick Simmons and John McFee arriving onstage with their touring sideman — former New Grass Revival singer-bassist John Cowan — they kicked off their set with “China Grove” with Young singing a verse. Paisley took a guitar solo on “Long Train Running.” The Doobies also delivered “Black Water” and closed the night with Paisley and Evans joining in on “Listen to the Music.”