LAS VEGAS -- Tim McGraw headlined an all-star CBS special on Monday night (April 8), presented by the Academy of Country Music, yet most of the night was given over to top names in country music performing their own hits.
In years past, these specials zeroed in on a certain person or idea -- Lionel Richie, Brooks & Dunn or country's women, for example. Titled ACM Presents: Tim McGraw's Superstar Summer Night, this year's special took a different approach by gathering McGraw's friends to mostly sing something from their own catalog.
In other words, rather than hearing a few hours' worth of McGraw's material, thousands of fans were offered the current singles from Jason Aldean, The Band Perry, Luke Bryan and others. Meanwhile, Dierks Bentley and Keith Urban delivered summery tunes to suit the theme. Once the show was in full swing, McGraw was rarely onstage for collaborations or introductions.
However, as the lights first dimmed in the MGM Grand Garden Arena, McGraw got the show rolling with duets from urban stars Pitbull and Ne-Yo. McGraw also played newer tunes like "Mexicoma" and "One of Those Nights." Later on, vintage performance clips of McGraw entertained fans while the sets were changed behind the giant screen.
Without giving away too much, show highlights included a sneak peek performance of a moody track from Lady Antebellum's upcoming album and a rendition of Florida Georgia Line's "Cruise" with a rap section by Nelly. Meanwhile, the impressive finale featured John Fogerty and many of his admirers jamming to a classic track.
It took about three hours to reach McGraw's other performance segment, right after big hits sung by Brantley Gilbert and Faith Hill. By then, fans embraced the chance to hear "Something Like That" and "Two Lanes of Freedom" by the superstar himself.
The special is scheduled to air on CBS in May.