Luke Bryan celebrated his first platinum album, Tailgates & Tanlines, Tuesday afternoon (May 22) in Nashville by throwing a thank-you party and concert for industry professionals and invited guests.
"As long as I live, I can say that at one time I was a platinum recording artist," said the thankful Georgian singer. "And I promise that no one will wear that title as proudly as me."
A platinum certification from the Recording Industry Association of America signifies more than 1 million albums shipped. His previous album, Doin' My Thing, is currently certified gold, having sold almost 700,000 copies.
Set in the shadow of LP Field, Nashville's pro-football stadium, Bryan's party was ringed by Chevy trucks with their tailgates lowered for easy lounging. Food trucks offering pizza, barbecue and ice cream were all there for this dinner-time show and, of course, all the free beer one would need to properly toast the suds-loving artist.
As guests mingled and sampled the fare, some announcements had to be taken care of.
Capitol Nashville senior vice president of marketing Cindy Mabe was first to take the stage and congratulate her star. She remarked that it took 6 years of diligence on the part of Bryan as well as his support team to reach platinum status. She also marveled that his last three singles, "Drunk on You," "I Don't Want This Night to End" and "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)" had been downloaded a combined total of 4.6 million times.
Next up was Capitol COO Tom Becci, who reminded the crowd that in today's environment, it was not at all easy to score a platinum album. He then introduced Bryan's manager, Kerri Edwards, and producer, Jeff Stevens, to receive their praise.
Bryan himself had the most thank-you messages to dole out, mentioning everyone from his record label team to radio programmers to bus drivers and his hard-working road crew.
"This whole thing started out with Jeff [Stevens] and I writing a song together," said Bryan. "That turned out pretty great, even though we didn't know each other very well. We probably know each other a little too well now, but I feel like we've still got a long way to go."
He saved his most important message for last -- one going out to his beautiful wife Caroline, who stood off to the side of the stage in a sundress and hat.
"Thank you for letting me be a kid and shake it every night," said the singer. "I love you."
With that, the formal part of the evening was done, and Bryan and his proud band took the stage to offer a short taste of their talents.
"Rain Is a Good Thing" was the familiar lead-off for anyone who has seen Bryan in concert recently, followed by "Someone Else Calling You Baby" and what he called "the biggest song I've ever been a part of," the current single, "Drunk on You."
The crowd was mostly reserved but polite, this being a group of Nashville industry folks, after all, but at least two people found the perfect use for all those trucks lining the stage. Dancing in the bed of the closest truck were two young girls, pigtails and ponytails in their hair, singing back every word and shaking it like there was no tomorrow.
Bryan took notice and began to sing in their direction, prompting bashful smiles and red faces. They sang along a little too well at one point, with Bryan following a particularly juicy lyric with "You just said a bad word!" in mock exasperation.
"Do I" showcased Bryan's piano skills, even though he claims that it does the opposite, and that No. 1 (his first) led into the often-debated "Enter Sandman/All My Friends Say" medley. It may well be a perfect way of firing up a college-aged audience towards the end of a night, but now that Bryan is officially a platinum-selling artist, he might be better served to stick to his own deep bag of recognizable melodies while leaving the Metallica covers to his openers.
Of course, none of that matters in the moment, and no Luke Bryan show would be complete without his signature booty-bouncer, "Country Girl (Shake It for Me)." Delivering the first part of the smash with all his usual happy-go-lucky goofiness, Bryan shimmied his way around the stage and posed for photos as he went. Then he plopped down at the front of the stage and let the whole crowd surround him, which by that time had picked up some energy and was moving.
He sat there right through the second half of the song to allow everyone who wanted a picture with the star the opportunity to get one, even if it meant he missed some of the words. He stayed parked right through the end of the song and even through his band's hugely built-up finish. Still smiling and hugging, the band had already returned to the bus and house music had been playing for 10 minutes by the time everyone had their turn. Bryan didn't mind at all. That's how you say thanks in country music.