Tennessee’s weather has always been unpredictable and Friday evening was no different, with the rain taking a hiatus for the second evening of performances at Nissan Stadium.
The lineup for the evening brought powerful soul country music into the stadium, touching every person there and lighting up the stadium for multiple sets.
Opening the night performances was Jo Dee Messina, who has six number one singles on the country Billboard music charts and been honored by the CMAs. Messina poured every ounce of her soul into her performance, setting up the stage for the rest of the evening.
Messina vocals soared during her performance of “Reckless Love,” and Messina not only threw it back with her song “Bye Bye,” but again her range and emotion in the song pulled the crowd in for the night.
Catering to the soulful night, Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Phillip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook followed singing “Wish You Were A Better Man.”
The group poured out their harmonies with “Girl Crush” and their newest single “The Daughters.”
“Yeah, now we are in the boondocks out here, with the party crowd,” Fairchild said when the group joined the crowd on the floor after singing “Boondocks.”
Duo Dan Smyers and Shay Mooney brought all the soul with their song set including their 2018 song “Speechless,” which lit up the entire stadium as fans were asked to turn their phone’s flashlights on simultaneously for the TV special. Ending their set on a song for dancing, the duo threw it back to their hit song “Tequila.”
Although Thomas Rhett is co-hosting CMA Fest with Kelsea Ballerini, he also performed Friday night, bringing with the soul and energetic burst into the crowd with fans jumping along with him.
With his songs “Teardrops Falling Down,” “Life Changes,” and his newest hit “Look What God Gave Her,” Rhett’s lively spring on stage circulated through the stadium as people got up onto their feet to dance. Rhett also brought out a surprise guest and the featured artist on his song “Beer Can’t Fix” Jon Pardi.
“This one’s for you, Nashville,” Rhett said before the two enjoyed a beer on stage during the song.
Eric Church took the stage as a ‘surprise’ additional performance bringing with him the acoustic country he’s known for. Church, who has sold out to crowds of 57,000 thousands, strummed through a medley of his songs for the half hour, covering all six of his albums.
Closing his set with “Springsteen,” Church encouraged the crowd’s participation during the chorus as he circled back to “Mistress Named Music.”
During the final performance for the evening, Carrie Underwood brought out guest star rock singer, songwriter and record producer Joan Jett, adding a little bit of Rock n’ Roll to the soulful night.
She asked the crowd, “How about we rock this CMA Fest?” before starting into “Hate Myself For Loving You.”
The duo then also performed Jett’s classics including “Bad Reputation” and “I Love Rock n’ Roll,” with the crowd really getting into the set.
Underwood sang a mix of her classic songs “Something in the Water,” “Church Bells,” and “name of song I can’t think of here.” Underwood also performed her newest single, “Southbound” which fans chanced a sneak peak at the music video moments before Underwood took stage.