With perfect weather and a beautiful sunset on the horizon of Tinley Park, IL’s First Midwest Bank Ampitheatre, I was ready to see Cassadee Pope open up the Live & Loud tour. Just two years ago I watched her play to a venue of 100 at The Beat Kitchen in Chicago and she was my first interview, ever. When I saw her rocking out in front of thousands, I couldn’t help but grin stupidly and gaze in amazement at how far she’s come in the past two years. She took the stage rocking wedge heels with a pink shirt and leggings. Due to her seemingly perfect pitch and great stage presence, everyone was swaying along to her first single since signing to Big Machine, “Wasting All These Tears.”
After I was done dancing and screaming along to Pope, my favorite siblings; The Band Perry. The only time I’ve seen The Band Perry live was at their press conference back at CMA Fest and I was astonished at how grateful and humble they were toward the press and their fans. It was so refreshing to hear that their harmonies sounded exactly like the recorded tracks that I listen to on my iPod. Kimberly even covered Whitney Houston’s “And I Will Always Love You” and did it justice, which is quite a feat in itself. What I loved about their set was the fact they were always moving around in addition to surprising the crowd by being personal and actually talking to everyone, including checking in on the fans in the nosebleeds, also known as lawn seats. My favorite moment was when everyone stopped singing and they let the crowd sing the refrain of their hit, “If I Die Young.”
Rascal Flatts came out on a moving stage performing their hit, “Life Is A Highway” and engaging fans with high fives, points, and never staying in the same spot for more than a second. I have to give it up to their violinist who absolutely blew me away with his talent. Something that shocked the crowd including security guards and staff was their cover of Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” It took me a minute to realize it was a cover and not one of their original songs due to the fact that they put a great country twang on it. I went to the highest part of the venue and watched the crowd sing the chorus of “What Hurts The Most” acapella and screaming when the line “so close” was sung. Cassadee came back on stage to perform “Easy” and “Stand By You” with the trio while the crowd continued to sway along.
The trio then sat down for an acoustic set during which they mentioned that they had eaten a Midwest favorite, Portillo’s. It was nice to hear their banter and praise of one another. Gary’s ability to hold some of the highest notes I’ve heard for a male singer was “breathtaking,” no pun intended. They brought a six year old girl on stage and sang “Bob That Head” with her and they closed the night out with “Summer Nights.” It was a night of great music and talent and the production was simple with incredible backgrounds. Be sure to catch them in your town on the Live & Loud tour!