Thursday, June 6th was a date many members of the Chris Young fan club, Young Country, had been planning and anticipating for; it was the 13th annual Fan Club party. Held upon the famed General Jackson showboat in Nashville, over 500 fans were individually greeted and posed for pictures with Young while listening to the performers from the Nashville School of the Arts, in which the party was benefiting, on the dock while mingling and greeting with other fans they knew through previous events or social media.
Upon boarding, guests were directed to mingle among the decks, partake in the cash bars onboard and view the items held during a silent auction; everything from a signed set from his show in Evans, GA, an autographed guitar and even a pair of his size 13 boots were available, in addition to a homemade crocheted angel and smocked baby gown by his Nanny, a handcrafted lazy susan by his grandfather, an etched wine glass from his mother, and other items with a personal touch. Fans were also encouraged to sign and leave messages on a large banner to Chris, who celebrated his 29th birthday on June 12th , inbetween embracing and connecting with other fans they had not seen in quite some time. Friends and family, including Young’s Nanny and Grandaddy, were also onboard and welcoming to fans new and familiar.
When the doors finally opened inside the show hall, fans journeyed to their assigned tables and feasted on a southern buffet style dinner, including Stuffed Cornbread Fried Chicken, BBQ Brisket, Potato Salad, Mac n’ Cheese and assorted cookies. Emceed by radio personalities Tony and Kris, guests were once again treated to performers from the Nashville School of Arts, this time in the form of dance, before the man himself took the stage while stunned views of the Nashville skyline passed by.
Performing various songs from all of his albums, including his new album “A.M.”, Young was in high spirits as fans raised from their seats and danced the night away down the Cumberland River. From the balconies to the main floor, fan club members laughed, danced, and fawned as Young relaxed and cut loose on the stage, adding in fan favorite Whitley covers such as “When You Say Nothing At All’, “Over You”, and “Don’t Close Your Eyes”, and his rendition of Eric Clapton’s hit “Change the World”, a mind-blowing version performed last year for The Grammy’s ReImagined segment. Cracking himself up, Young was in his element, interacting with fan suggestions and teasers of other songs from his catalog in his jovial manner.
The four hour party did get personal, as Young thanked and showed appreciation to the fans for supporting him, feeling somewhat surreal that this was his 13th fan club party. Several people in particular were acknowledged individually, including original fan club president Terri Thompson and Street Team Leader DJ Devins. Also present was Tori Mason, longtime fan and supporter of Young, who was presented with the Dale ‘Spring” Brazell award, an award established after the passing of a beloved member who embodied dedication and kindness in their efforts to support Chris.
The biggest moment of the night was yet to come when, at the end of the performance, Young introduced The Doobie Brothers onstage. The crowd erupted with cheers and surprise as the band performed their 1972 hit “Listen to the Music”, and could not contain themselves when Young joined them on “China Grove” . Young could not contain his excitement and appreciation that night, and the smile radiating from his face lit up the entire room. Docking at port near the Opry Mills Mall, guests descended the General Jackson with a million new memories.
“Chris and his band gave an outstanding performance with the perfect mixture of high energy party starters to swoon worthy,” said first time attendee Michelle Maddox. “Tonight exceeded my expectations, solidified why I am a fan, and will be the first of many more parties to come.”
Unfortunately Young injured himself later that night in an accident at home, having to cancel his much anticipated signing at the Convention Center on Friday and performance at LP Field on Saturday night, but after two surgeries to repair tendons in his left hand Young was adamant on returning to the road and his fans. Projected to wear a soft cast for two weeks and a hard cast for four, Young is diligent on performing at his headlining dates and as an opener on the highly acclaimed Riser Tour with Dierks Bentley.
Interested in seeing what is in store for next year’s party? Make sure to head over to www.chrisyoungcountry.com and sign up to become a member of Young Country (also see the fan club piece written HERE). In the meantime you can watch Young beaming while performing with the Doobie Brothers in the video below and leave him a get well message on the official Chris Young Vote & Promote Facebook page and on his Twitter using the hashtag #getwellsoonChrisYoung.