Blake Shelton emphasized he'll always remember his concert at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena on Saturday night (Sept. 14). That's because he'd been waiting nearly two decades for this gig -- the first time he's ever headlined an arena show in Music City.
"I swear I'm not lying when I say I will never forget this night for the rest of my life," he told the crowd at the conclusion of nearly two hours of singing and cutting up. The sentiment echoed his constant admissions of being nervous throughout the night.
Fortunately for this reigning CMA entertainer of the year, a few drinks take the edge off. As a result, he was loose, funny, engaging and as appealing as anyone in country music.
Of course, his presence on The Voice cranked his career into overdrive, but longtime fans know he has more than enough hits to fill a set list. And rather than gloss over his early years, he pretended that nobody would know the songs anyway -- and then received roaring applause for "Austin," "Ol' Red" and "Nobody but Me." (No sign of "The Baby," though.)
However, his mullet did make a cameo, much to the delight of the audience. You have to believe that nobody loves to laugh at Shelton more than the man himself.
There were also many, many radio hits, from "Honey Bee" to "Boys 'Round Here." Yet, being in Nashville, there is always an expectation of a special guest. For Shelton's show, that meant bringing out the mighty Trace Adkins for their lighthearted duet, "Hillbilly Bone."
As an opener, Easton Corbin held the crowd's attention with a deft blend of hits ("All Over the Road") and well-chosen covers (Brooks & Dunn's "Brand New Man"). Jana Kramer's familiar singles, "Why Ya Wanna" and "I Hope It Rains," also had the fans singing along.
The next stop on Shelton's Ten Times Crazier tour is Thursday (Sept. 19) in Charleston, W.Va.