Hank Williams Jr. does not disappoint anyone when he says he is bringing his rowdy friends and hosting a shin-dig! Hank, Jamey Johnson, Eric Church and the Grascals all entertained the more-than-ready-crowd with beer glass raising and boot kickin’ bluegrass and country-rock performances on Friday night (Apr. 23) at Nashville's downtown Bridgestone Arena
The Grascals did double duty, as they first enlightened fans outside while waiting in line to get into the arena with songs off their recent CD including “Last Train To Clarksville” and a Hank Jr. medley. Inside, their set list included a performance of a rousing rendition of 'Orange Blossom Special' and Merle Haggard's 'Today I Started Loving You Again.'
Eric Church, known for his “rile up the crowd” antics and country-rock took to the stage and included his songs 'Lotta Boot Left to Fill,' 'Guys Like Me,' 'Smoke a Little Smoke' and 'I Love Your Love The Most’ in his set.
Following Church, was Jamey Johnson who let down no one. His edgy demeanor and powerful lyrics had the crowd begging for more as he sang 'High Cost of Living,' 'You Can't Cash My Checks,' 'Even the Skies Are Blue' and 'Actin' Like I'm Playin' the Part.' He covered Waylon Jennings' 'Mental Revenge' and Vern Gosdin's 'Set 'Em Up, Joe,' and finished out the evening with his mega hit 'In Color' and the George Strait tune he co-wrote, 'Give It Away.'
When Hank Jr.' stepped on stage, the crowd went insane from the first sound of 'Rockin' Randall' all the way to the end of the show; which he closed with 'Family Tradition. He picked up the fiddle for his version of 'Kaw-liga' and sat behind the piano while he reminisced about what it was like to be the son of Hank and Audrey Williams. "My childhood was not normal," he said, in what might have been the understatement of the evening. "When I was a little bitty boy all these cats would come over to my daddy's place ... and my mom would say, 'You got to help me do something with this boy, all he wants to play is boogie-woogie.' So there was this one cat who told her, 'If he wants to boogie-woogie, why don't you let me teach him how to really boogie woogie?'"
There was also a moment during the set in which Hank was alone on stage with an acoustic guitar and sang along with the audience on such songs as 'Whiskey Bent and Hell Bound,' 'A Country Boy Can Survive' and a few Waylon Jennings and Johnny Cash songs, 'Lonesome, On'ry and Mean' and 'I Walk the Line,' 'Feelin' Better,' 'Dinosaur,' 'There's a Tear in My Beer' and 'All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down.’
"You know, I've got some of the best fans in the world," he told the audience at one point. "I only do about 20 dates a year, and I can take a year off and when I come back, they're right there with me. I think you're the most loyal fans in the world."
Eric Church, Jamey Johnson and the Grascals all came back onstage as Hank sang 'Family Tradition,' giving each of them a line in his 'if you don't like so-and-so, you can kiss my ass' part of the song.
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Photos: Moments By Moser by Mark Vikingstad