Review - Lady Antebellum & Darius Rucker @ Shoreline Amphitheater (8/16/18)

Ken McCain
Lady Antebellum's Hillary Scott, Dave Haywood, and Charles Kelley (Photo: Ken McCain)
The twin bill of Darius Rucker and Lady Antebellum made a stop at Shoreline Amphitheater in Mountain View, CA on their Summer Plays On Tour a few nights back. Talking to friends ahead of time gave me time to consider who the headliner should be. Rucker has been going since 1994 when he formed the hit band Hootie and the Blowfish and debuted their first album Cracked Rear View (iTunes). He's reigned in, for his early work and his recent country music, a dozen or more Grammy, AMA, and CMA awards in that time. However, Lady Antebellum has been running strong for only a decade and has garnered nearly the same amount. On awards alone it's a no-decision. Fan response would have to be the tie-breaker. Surely the crowd would let me know who was top bill.
Darius Rucker (Photo: Ken McCain)
At many shows I attend, the openers draw a light crowd, as many fans are fighting traffic, tailgating in the lot, or milling about the venue grounds. Thursday seemed a bit different in that the fans showed up early and got into the show quickly. By the time Rucker took the stage at 8pm the place was packed. More than 15,000 fans with anticipation for the music were there, and as the lights dimmed and the first notes hit the air their roar enveloped the amphitheater. Without a roof there was no way to contain the sound, so it came in waves, and stayed most of the hour-long set. He relayed a story about meeting an icon in the music business many years ago. It was Chrissie Hynde of The Pretenders. She told him, "Kid, play the hits." He and his multi-talented band floored it from that point, rattling off one hit after another, covering his solo and early career. It's no doubt that fans that followed him in the 'Hootie Years' are still fans after he crossed over into country. He explained to the crowd that the first country song he ever wrote was "Let Her Cry", a song he wrote for Hootie & the Blowfish and that won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Pop Performance by a Duo or Group with Vocals.
Darius Rucker and his band (Photo: Ken McCain)
After a short break the crowd regathered at 9:15pm when the lights again dimmed and the venue was struck with a chord. A video played on a large screen above and to the rear of the stage and the beginnings of "You Look Good" began. Appearing below the screen and with flashing lights all around them, the trio making up Lady Antebellum made their way to the front of the stage. They seem to always be in each others' company, and the harmonies they create are incredible. The ten years they've been together has allowed them to hone their sound, and the payoff comes in spades. With so many top 10 songs, awards, and accolades alike, it's no wonder they are one of the hottest acts in country music today. An hour and 45 minutes doesn't seem like enough time to get in all of the music they have to play. I'm sure they could go on for hours, but with a time limit they can only play for so long. And so they pack it all in. They throttle up the energy, cut down on the fluff, and hit the heights like the seasoned super group they are. The band that accompanies them on stage is excellent, too. Dual lead guitars, with each one on the wings, the rhythm section takes the center and rear of the stage, while the vocals, and Dave Haywood doing double duty as vocals and rhythm guitar, take center stage.
Lady Antebellum (Photo: Ken McCain)
They ran through their set and took a short break. Most, if not all, thought they would return and sing a few last songs. As some of the 'early birds' left the venue, little did they realize that things would be different than the norm for this show. While the stage was dark, a single figure with an acoustic guitar made his way to the center of the stage. A flood light lit the spot where he stood revealing Darius Rucker. With a few strums of the chords on the guitar most in the crowd knew what was happening. I'm not sure if it turned anyone around to lead them back, but I believe the roar of the crowd stopped more than a few dead in their tracks and got them to stay just a little longer. As he made his way through the opening lines of "Hold My Hand" his own band took their places on stage. As the second verse began Lady Antebellum suddenly appeared and took any open spot they could, doubling up on guitars, keys, and percussion. It truly is a family on tour, as Darius Rucker explained earlier on, and there is no competition for stage time. They all sang each others' songs, including the first act of the night, Russell Dickerson, as they finished the night with a few more tunes.
Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, and Dave Haywood (Photo: Ken McCain)
So who was top bill for the night? I call it a draw, pardner. And we all won!
Lady Antebellum's Charles Kelley & Hillary Scott (Photo: Ken McCain)
Thanks for reading and be sure to follow us across social at: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

Darius Rucker Setlist Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA, USA 2018

Lady Antebellum Setlist Shoreline Amphitheatre, Mountain View, CA, USA 2018

#buttons=(Accept !) #days=(20)

Our website uses cookies to enhance your experience. Learn More
Accept !