Luke Bryan Shakes, Rattles and Rolls in Memphis

"Suspicious Minds" Performed as a Tribute to Elvis

It may have been Memphis, a city known for the blues, but there were no sad souls at Luke Bryan’s Friday night (March 7) show at the FedEx Forum.

We were too busy and happy shakin’ it for and with our friends and anybody who would shake it with us.

Most importantly, we were shaking it for Bryan, who entertained us all wildly with spot-on vocals, a high-energy set list, good ol’ boy quotes, the dance moves we all came to see and even a few flashy bells and whistles such as the opening pyro segment complete with a real “big black jacked-up truck.”

I’m not kidding.

From that moment on, the whole night was a party as Bryan rolled through hits like the tour’s namesake single “That’s My Kind of Night,” “Rain Is a Good Thing,” “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” “Someone Else Calling You Baby,” “Crash My Party,” “Do I,” “I Don’t Want This Night to End,” “Drink a Beer” and “Play It Again,” to name a few.

Of course, a huge perk of being a headliner is the opportunity to roll back through your song catalog to the early days of your career. When “All My Friends Say” and “Country Man” were first released, I wonder if he ever thought they would one day be a part of his massive set in an arena for thousands of screaming fans.

And there were other delightful surprises, too, like Bryan’s impressive turn on piano to sing “Suspicious Minds” as a tribute to Elvis Presley. Because when in Memphis … right?

Special guests Lee Brice and Cole Swindell also joined Bryan onstage during his set for a cover of Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Can’t Hold Us” after delivering impressive sets of their own.

By the time the big finale — “Country Girl (Shake It for Me)” — rolled around, we were all just basking in the glow of watching country music’s biggest superstar strut his stuff.

Bryan is a sweetheart of a guy who will hang backstage before a show and gush the whole time about his beautiful wife and sons and then turn around and hit the stage wide open with a grinning game face to wow a sold-out crowd.

That’s our kind of night — and our kind of guy.

Samantha is a country radio insider with a deep love for the music and its stars. She can often be found on a red carpet or at a late-night guitar pull.