Last night (Sept. 17), New York country fans kicked off the week with a special double episode taping of Front and Center at Opry City Stage. Front and Center is a commercial-free, all-music program that airs nationwide, on public television. Guests had about three days to purchase tickets before the hot event sold out, but NYCountry Swag followers had the opportunity to win their way in all weekend long through our exclusive giveaway contest.
Fans fortunate enough to attend had the privilege of experiencing two superstars in the making, Carly Pearce and Brett Young. The episode will air in spring of 2019, on PBS. The show will be cut down to a one-hour special, but we have your inside look of what you can expect next year.
To start the night, Nash FM 94.7’s Katie Neal and Jesse Addy took the stage to give the audience a run-down of how things were going to work. Since fans were a part of filming, Addy made sure the crowd knew one thing,“If you hear a song the second time, it’s the first time… and it’s amazing!” The dynamic duo got the sold out crowd fired up and ready for the first half of the night with CMT award-winning artist, Carly Pearce.
Pearce kicked off her set with her high-energy song “Careless”, getting the crowd pumped for what’s to come. The singer got the chance to perform almost every song on her record including crowd favorites like “Color” and “If My Name Was Whiskey” along with her very first number one song and debut single, “Every Little Thing”. Throwing some 90’s Country into the mix, Pearce gave a flawless cover of Shania Twain’s, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” before bringing it back to her Dollywood days with Dolly Parton’s, “9 to 5”.
Throughout the taping she talked with the crowd showing off her fun-loving-sassy personality, giving her backstory, talking about her job with the one and only Dolly Parton and mentioning the fact that she has played the Grand Ole Opry over 50 times already, giving everyone the order to go experience the Opry themselves.
The rising country star slayed each song with her outstanding vocals, never missing a beat. Before leaving the stage she said, “I got one song left Y’all and I just want to say thank you ‘Front and Center’ for having me. Thank you, Grand Ole Opry for having me and thank all of you for showing up, New York City… I have one question left for you, Do I have any wine drinkers in New York City!?” Closing out her set with her current single, “Hide The Wine” as everyone in the audience sang the lyrics right back to her.
Next up was multi-platinum artist, Brett Young, kicking things off with his brand new single, “Here Tonight”. Young’s set was filled with songs from his debut album, from his list of number one singles to crowd-favorites like “Left Side Of Leavin'” and “Makin’ Me Say”.
Adding fun covers to the mix, Young threw in his version of The Temptations’ “Ain’t Too Proud To Beg”, which he often performs while touring. With a New York City show, it was only fitting for the singer to cover Gavin DeGraw’s “Not Over You”, while the excited crowd sang along from beginning to end. Later, Young mashed up his fourth #1 single, “Mercy” with Marshmello and Khalid’s hit single “Silence”, putting a unique and tender twist on the EDM heavy song. Check out our exclusive video of the mash-up here.
Mid-set, Young’s band exited the stage, leaving only himself on acoustic and another guitarist. He told the audience, “Everybody covers this song, so in turn it’s pretty cliche that I’m about to cover this, but I just don’t care”, before singing a stunning cover of “Hallelujah” by Leonard Cohen. Young’s cover proved to be anything but cliche. His rendition was breathtaking, showing off his incredible talent.
As the night went on, he interacted with the crowd, at one point even jumping off the stage giving high-fives and hand shakes all around, while getting up close and personal to the front-row fans, taking pictures and videos, making sure everyone was having a good time.
Before ending the show, there was one thing Young asked of his audience, to sing his triple-platinum number one single “In Case You Didn’t Know” at the top of their lungs. One verse into the song he stopped and said, “This is going to be on television and I know you can sing louder than that, I’m gonna start the whole song over just to hear you guys louder!” When it played the second time around, every single person in the crowd put their heart and soul into screaming those lyrics back, making it the perfect sing-a-long. He thanked the crowd for supporting country music and making the song the wedding anthem of 2017. When it was time for his last song, the breakout artist brought it home with his debut single and first number one hit, “Sleep Without You”.
It was a night to never forget, both artists with such extraordinary talent, their vocals captivating the audience with every song they sang. Lucky for those who attended, we get to relive a part of the magic we experienced and for those who didn’t can get their chance to watch it next year when it airs on PBS! For New Yorkers, Brett Young will be back in New York City at the PlayStation Theater on December 9th with special guests Tyler Rich and Rachel Wammack. Grab your tickets here.
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