Steve Wariner and Bill Anderson hosted the show on Thursday night. The first act up was Zac Brown Band. Brown said, “We’re very proud to be kicking things off.” Throughout their hour-long set, they sang hit after hit with special guests along the way. Hits included, “Toes,” “Free,” “Colder Weather” with Amos Lee and “As She’s Walking Away” with Alan Jackson.
Brown introduced newcomer Sonia Lee by telling the crowd they didn’t know who she was now, but they would.
Brown closed his set with “Chicken Fried.” The Zac Brown Band pumped up the LP Field, preparing them to rock for the next 4 days at CMA Festival.
Easton Corbin followed the Zac Brown Band with a set including, “A Little More Country Than That, “Roll With It” among others as well as a song from his upcoming sophomore album. Corbin said, "We're more experienced out there this year, I think. Last year, was the first time I'd ever played a stadium. So, I think we're a little more seasoned this time."
Country music fans welcomed Sara Evans with open arms when she opened with “As If.” She sang her latest single, “A Little Bit Stronger,” and spoke about how the song has been touching fans across the country because anyone who is going through a rough time can relate to this song. Evans also sang her greatest hit, “Born to Fly,” “Real Fine Place to Start” and new single, “My Heart Can’t Tell You No.”
Performer of the night went to Jason Aldean. He is a force to be reckoned with in country music. He knows how to get the crowd pumped up, on their feet and ready to party. He opened with “Crazy Town” followed by “My Kinda Party” and “Big Green Tractor.”
The crowd went nuts for “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with the addition of Kelly Clarkson. Wow, that woman has a voice! The video below is just a tease. Sorry!
Aldean sang new single “Dirt Road Anthem,” “Johnny Cash” and “She’s Country.” Aldean ended by telling the crowd, “Bless y’all for a great year. We’ll see y’all on the road. Thank you very much.”
Ricky Skaggs, who has been around country music longer than Fan Fair sang a short acoustic set while the production crew was setting up for Brad Paisley.
Paisley closed the show with a 45-minute set with old favorites and songs off his new album including, “This is Country Music” “Old Alabama” with Alabama and “Working on a Tan.” Throughout the night during set changes, hosts Steve Wariner and Bill Anderson taught the crowd a dance to surprise Brad Paisley during “Working on a Tan.” So, when Paisley began performing the song, the crowd began to dance. It looked pretty awesome. I assume “Working on a Tan” will be his next single, with that song highlighted during “Country Music’s Night to Rock” on ABC later this summer.