As the DJ’s music died down and it became clear the headliner was about to finally take the stage, deafening screams echoed throughout PNC Music Pavilion.
They only intensified as Thomas Rhett was launched into the air from below stage before beginning “Look What God Gave Her,” a song off of his new album “Center Point Road.”
On Friday night, Rhett’s “Very Hot Summer Tour” — which also featured his father Rhett Akins, Russell Dickerson and Dustin Lynch — brought fans of all ages to their feet as some of country music’s finest rocked the night away. Akins and Dickerson were the first two opening acts, and as Dickerson sang his iconic song “Yours,” more people started to stream in from the parking lots where they were tailgating.
When Lynch took the stage, he noticed the size and loudness of the fans, especially during his hit song “Good Girl.”
“I’m not blowing smoke,” Lynch said to the fans. “That’s the loudest I’ve heard that song.”
By the time Rhett got on stage as the sun was setting, the majority of the seats were filled and the lawn didn’t have a spare spot. Little kids sat on their dads’ shoulders; teen girls stood with their parents; college students danced together, mirroring the elderly couples in neighboring seats.
Rhett’s setlist consisted of a variety of songs, some like “It Goes Like This,” “Get Me Some of That” and “Make Me Wanna” that date back to 2012 and others like “Look What God Gave Her” and “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time” that are off of his new album that was released on May 31. It was because of this variation that Rhett had a diverse audience.
Throughout the night, there was a consistently upbeat atmosphere. Rhett ran around the entire stage, taking fans’ phones in the pit to snap a quick selfie every once in a while. Halfway through the set, the 29-year-old walked to a small stage in the middle of the audience to sing a few songs like “That Old Truck” in order to connect better with fans on the lawn.
His interactions with the audience weren’t the only thing keeping them on their feet. The band danced throughout the night — behind, beside and even in front of Rhett at times, while still playing their respective guitars, saxophones and trumpets. Smiles would creep onto their faces as reality sunk in about how far they’ve made it.
The atmosphere was electric, and fans had a hard time keeping smiles off of their faces at what was happening around them. Some fans danced in the aisles, spinning their significant other while swing dancing. Others raised their hands to the sky as they swayed to the music. An elderly man kissed his wife while college-age kids cheered them on and a little girl sat in her dad’s arms, reaching her arm out to touch the artists.
Throughout the night, Rhett talked to the audience, asking every now and then, “Who can relate to this song?” Countless hands and beer cans were raised as fans cheered.
And to close out the main set, Rhett went with a 2017 hit that summed up how many fans would probably describe the show: “Unforgettable.”
Thomas Rhett’s setlist
1. “Look What God Gave Her”
2. “Crash and Burn”
3. “Get Me Some of That”
4. “Craving You”
6. “Don’t Threaten Me with a Good Time”
7. “It Goes Like This”
8. “Remember You Young”
9. “Make Me Wanna” / “Suit & Tie”
10. “Life Changes”
11. “That Old Truck”
12. “Star of the Show”
13. “Round Here”
15. “Marry Me”
16. “Die a Happy Man”