Concert Reviews

Luke Bryan with Sam Hunt, Jon Pardi & Morgan Wallen at Rogers Centre

When the show is this stacked, you’ve got to play a stadium.

The What Makes You Country Tour is a multi-star mega show, headlined by modern day country legends Luke Bryan and Sam Hunt. When it rolled into the Rogers Centre last Thursday night, Toronto more than showed up. They saddled up.

Starting off the night at a ripe 5:30pm call time was Morgan Wallen, a past contestant on The Voice and all around country kid. From his hit Florida Georgia Line collab “Up Down” to his newest single “If I Knew Me,” this skilled singer warmed up the crowd without breaking a sweat.

Next up on the bill, Mr. Jon Pardi. The twangy traditionalist of the bunch, Pardi was underwhelming and a touch off key compared to his stage mates. With brown locks tucked under a white cowboy hat and a button up tucked into blue jeans, Pardi looked like the epitome of a good Southern boy – but just bad enough to break your daughter’s heart. He played guitar behind a mic stand for most of his set, which was lengthy for an opener, playing hit songs like “Dirt On My Boots” and “Head Over Boots.” If the titles alone weren’t a country bro overdose, Pardi then blamed his sweaty brow on all the hot women in the room. Yeah, you read that right.

And now for the main attraction, part one. Sam Hunt brought a whole new energy to the stage, as was expected considering his unconventional style. He ran on stage in all black and sneakers, no boots in sight, and lit up the stadium with his new single “Downtown’s Dead.” Safe to say, Hunt and Pardi were night and day. The set was a mash up of honky tonk and hip hop (think Usher meets Dixie Chicks) and the crowd was all in. Hunt played all his hits, which in his case is almost every track he’s released, and tapped out with his record breaking chart-topper “Body Like A Back Road.” Complete with soaring guitar solos, a piano ballad break, and a toga chant, Sam Hunt’s dynamic set provided everything this crowd paid for (and more).

Four hours after doors, the man they came to see arrived. Clad in tight jeans, a black tee, and his signature ball cap, Luke Bryan was as tanned and toned as ever. Naturally, the stadium erupted into high pitched screams. Honestly, I may have been one of them. He commanded the crowd immediately with his toothy smile and Southern drawl. He tossed Miller Lite’s into adoring outstretched hands. He grinded his hips infamously in front of a never ending fireworks display. He sang about “Huntin’, Fishin’ and Lovin’ Every Day.” In a nutshell, Luke Bryan was the closest you’d get to a country god. Rifling effortlessly through a string of #1’s, including “Play It Again” and the show-closing anthem “That’s My Kind Of Night,” it was clear that Bryan felt right at home on a stadium stage.

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Starving student moonlighting as a music geek.