A few minutes after the All 4 the Hall concert was underway in Nashville on Tuesday night (May 6), Keith Urban admitted he had no idea how the show was going to go. Vince Gill stood behind him, clutching a guitar and grinning in agreement.
Although the charitable cause is noble — raising money for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum — the event is intended to be loose, fun and focused on music. Mission accomplished.
Urban and Gill opened the night with “Wake Up Little Susie,” a homage to the Everly Brothers. The classic duet paved the way for three hours of sterling performances from more than a dozen artists who each sang two songs and often shared a story to go with them.
For example, Carrie Underwood gushed about meeting Dolly Parton before diving into a powerhouse performance of “I Will Always Love You,” then reminisced about getting to know a potential new boyfriend — but not even knowing his last name. Thus, “Last Name.”
Kacey Musgraves also tipped her hat to Parton with a nifty version of “Here You Come Again” followed by her own breakthrough single “Merry Go ’Round.” Through a cheerful video, Parton sent her warm wishes to the crowd.
At the end of the night, Darius Rucker gathered many of the event’s special guests for a lively rendition of “Wagon Wheel.” He said he’s always loved Old Crow Medicine Show’s bluegrass version of the song, but decided to record it after hearing it performed at a talent show by the faculty at his daughter’s school. He also chose “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” because it was his first No. 1 country single, back in 2008, and he remains grateful for his country career.
By this time, fans at the nearly-full Bridgestone Arena had been treated to country classics from the 1960s, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s and 2000s, often by the original artist.
After singing the meaningful “What You Give Away,” Gill and steel guitarist Paul Franklin teamed up for Buck Owens’ timeless “Together Again.” Finally earning his own spot in the Hall of Fame this year, Ronnie Milsap nailed “Stranger in My House” and “Smoky Mountain Rain.”
Lee Ann Womack balanced a fiery new song called “The Way I’m Living” with a fan favorite, “Little Past Little Rock.” Deana Carter charmed the audience with “You and Tequila” and “Strawberry Wine,” while Mary Chapin Carpenter commanded the stage with “He Thinks He’ll Keep Her” followed by the thoughtful “Why Shouldn’t We.” Later on, Reba McEntire embodied the feisty murderer in “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia” before stepping into the empowering title role of “I’m a Survivor.”
Fans of contemporary country music had plenty of highlights, too. Serving as an exceptional host, Urban pulled out “Somewhere in My Car” and later gave a fantastic rendition of “Cop Car” from a far corner of the arena. He kept the proceedings light and casual, beaming even when he was in the background.
Early on, newcomer Brett Eldredge told the audience about the beautiful girl he saw in the Caribbean that inspired “Beat of the Music.” However, he couldn’t get her phone number, so he spent the day with swimming pigs instead. He followed that tune with the sweet song, “Mean to Me.”
Even though he’s a heck of a singer, David Nail confessed to being extremely nervous ever since Urban left him a voicemail asking him to take part in the concert. He kept his eyes closed during most of “Whatever She’s Got,” which is a shame because he missed Urban happily singing along throughout the whole song, with Gill lending support on electric guitar. After that, Nail brought out Womack to harmonize on Glen Campbell’s “Galveston.”
Meanwhile, Kip Moore played a couple of new songs, “My Baby’s Gone” and “Dirt Road,” and Brantley Gilbert delivered the smash “Bottoms Up” and an earnest number about being a confident “grown-ass man.” (Gill later quipped to Urban: “I’m a large-ass man.”) Luke Bryan also sent a video message thanking fans for their support.
Urban estimated that $600,000 was raised for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum during the event.View photos from the We’re All 4 the Hall concert.