It was a muggy afternoon as a over a mile long line of eager concertgoers filled the sidewalks surrounding the Broadcast Music, Inc. (BMI) building on Music Row in Nashville in anticipation of Jake Owen‘s second annual “Beach Party“, a free concert held in the music publishing companies parking lot. Nearly 20,000 fans cramped into the parking lot as media helicopters flew overheard and employees of BMI lined the ledges of the building to get a good view, while beer and food vendors lined the outer ridges as patrons got the party going.
At 7pm, syndicated radio host Bobby Bones was the MC for the night, and came on stage to introduce the opening act, Old Dominion. In addition to original songs, the newly-rising band covered renditions of songs they wrote, such as Chasin Crazy‘s “That’s How We Do Summertime“, “Chainsaw” by The Band Perry, and “Wake Up Loving You” by Craig Morgan. Old Dominion definitely set the tone for the rest of the night as the crowds were packing in tighter.
After a short introduction by Bones, radio host Amy Paige and the headliner himself, Jake Owen, you could feel the air electrify as Nashville’s own The Cadillac Three took the stage. The Southern rock based country band really turned up the heat with fan favorites such as “Party Like You” “Tennessee Mojo” (the video having been filmed at last year’s party) and “The South“, in which the crowd went haywire. Playing roughly forty-five minutes, TC3 was amazing and put on a flawless performance while there were sightings of Danielle Bradberry and The Swon Brothers in the crowd.
Now before any headliner, there has to be a build-up. Bobby Bones once again ascended on stage, this time with his band, The Raging Idiots. Performing roughly 4 songs, Bones would count down the minutes for Owen’s appearance as the stage was being set. In between the The Raging Idiots and Owen the parking lot turned into a night club; with an unseen DJ spinning dance hits such as Iggy Azalea’s “Fancy“, Lil John‘s “Turn Down For What” and others, the hands were in the air, girls started dancing while sitting on their boyfriends (or strangers) shoulders and the hips were shaking.
Soon the lights on the audience dimmed and the stage lights behind a large curtain started going; as a brief video showing Owen trying to get to a show played on the teleprompters, the crowd cheered as hands and silhouettes started moving behind the curtain. The curtain fell to a thunderous applause and Owen burst onstage to his hit and album track title “Days of Gold“. In addition to his own hits, such as “Anywhere With You“, a beach-balled frenzy during “Beachin“, and “Alone With You“, the special guests were in abundance, integrated throughout the set.
Dan + Shay were the first guests on stage, performing their hit “19 You and Me“; during the song Owen accidentally fell off stage left however no injuries were reported and he still seemed in good spirits. Other guests included Sonia Leigh performing her song “If Ya Wanna Get Some Booty” with Owen, and later he joined Brothers Osborne with “Rum“, Lee Brice with “Parking Lot Party“, and with pop singer Mike Poser during Poser’s hit “Cooler Than Me“. Covers were also prevalanet, as Owen covered Drake‘s “Hold On, We’re Going Home“, serenaded two contest winners, who were flown in from Ohio courtesy of Jake that very day, with renditions of Alan Jackson‘s “Chattahoochee“, Vanilla Ice‘s “Ice Ice Baby” and Brooks and Dunn‘s “Boot Scooting Boogie“, and integrated Sublime‘s “What I Got” and Jack Johnson‘s “Bubble Toes” into his own song, “Pass A Beer“. Closing the show with Van Halen‘s “Jump“, all openers and special guests ascended the beach-clad stage.
The most poignant moment of the night was before Owen performed his hit “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You“; he spoke of being raised right, how his parents were celebrating over 35 years of marriage and about the type of man his father is. Having “kicked cancer’s ass” last year, Owen paid tribute to the man who was not in attendance. He also spoke of how they supported his dream to drop out of college at Florida State University and move to Nashville ten years ago; showing much appreciation for those who helped him along the way, Owen stated
“I’m telling all of those who just moved here, because I know there maybe someone in this crowd who just moved here within this past week chasing a dream, that it is possible. I started at the Otter’s (referring to playing at Otter’s Chicken Tenders restaurant) playing for 10 people. Now I’m playing for 20,000. It’s possible, don’t give up”.
With a recent rise in violence and alcohol related incidents at country concerts and festivals, it is refreshing to report that none of serious issue were reported at this show. It was an amazing night of music and Owen hinted at another event next year.