Despite a morning that started with torrential downpours, the Summer Plays On tour indeed played on at New York’s Jones Beach Amphitheater on Saturday night (August 4), with the rain giving way to sunny skies and electric sets from co-headliners Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker.
Prior to the headliners, rising star Russell Dickerson hit the stage for an opening set worthy of headliner status. He was a bundle of energy, engaging the crowd and holding them in the palm of his hand for the entirety of his thirty minute set that included “Blue Tacoma,” “Billions,” and “MGNO,” which he mashed up with “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun” and “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” Dickerson showed off that he’s poised to be country’s next superstar with a charisma seen in the likes of Thomas Rhett or Luke Bryan in their early days. He closed his impressive set with his first number one song, “Yours,” cueing up the night’s first of many sing-alongs.
Darius Rucker was next to hit the stage, the sun setting and the energy rising throughout his hour-long set, that kicked off with “Homegrown Honey,” “Radio,” and then slowed down with “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It.” Rucker seamlessly flowed from up-tempos to ballads, enchanting the crowd with songs like “This” and “It Won’t Be Like This For Long.” During the latter, the video screen played an aww-worthy montage of Rucker’s children that was sure to soften even the hardest of hearts.
“This is by far one of my favorite places to play,” Rucker announced early in his set. “I’ve been playing here for 25 years!” He then introduced a song from his previous life as the frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish, dedicating “Let Her Cry” to anyone who had seen him back in the ’90s. The Hootie tracks sounded far from out of place at a country show, with “Only Wanna Be With You” also appearing later in the set.
Much to the surprise of the crowd, Lady Antebellum’s front-man, Charles Kelley, hit the stage early to join Rucker on their cover of Drivin’ N’ Cryin’s “Straight to Hell” before the night’s next huge singalong erupted along to the tune of none other than “Wagon Wheel.” The 15,000 capacity venue was filled to the rafters, and we’re fairly certain that there wasn’t a person in attendance that didn’t know every word.
After a very brief intermission, Lady Antebellum hit the stage with a one-two punch of high energy, starting with “You Look Good” and “Bartender.” Highlights of their set included a genius mashup of Dua Lipa’s “New Rules” and “Heart Break” as well as “Compass” combined with Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle.” A cover of the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman” also had the crowd on its feet and singing along.
While Lady A shined on its covers, their strength as a band lay even deeper in harmonic ballads, including “Dancin’ Away with My Heart,” “I Run to You,” and “We Owned the Night.” A highlight of the night was Hillary Scott catching sight of a picture of a serviceman being held up by his friends in the pit. She then dedicated “American Honey” to the true American hero.
SOLD! OUT! SHOW! @NorthwellJBT! Ending the weekend in Wantagh…wishing we could've played all night. #SummerPlaysOnTour pic.twitter.com/sdI3MJRbYQ
— Lady Antebellum (@ladyantebellum) August 5, 2018
While the trio capped their main set with “Need You Now” and “We Owned the Night,” their encore was another highlight of the night, Rucker joining them on-stage for the Hootie and the Blowfish classic, “Hold My Hand.” Opening act Russell Dickerson also returned, showing off his impressive pipes as he went toe-to-toe with Hillary Scott on a cover of Deana Carter’s country classic, “Strawberry Wine.” The new supergroup capped off the night with Lady A’s first hit “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” and judging by audience reaction, love definitely still lives here for Lady Antebellum and Darius Rucker.
Remaining stops on the Summer Plays On Tour:
Thursday, August 16, Mountain View, Calif. – Shoreline Amphitheatre
Friday, August 17, Sacramento, Calif. – Toyota Amphitheatre
Sunday, August 19, Auburn, Wash. – White River Amphitheatre
Thursday, August 23, Phoenix, Ariz. – Ak-Chin Pavilion
Friday, August 24, Irvine, Calif. – FivePoint Amphitheatre
Saturday, August 25, San Diego, Calif. – Mattress Firm Amphitheatre
Friday, August 31, Welch, Minn. – Treasure Island Resort & Casino
Saturday, September 1, Milwaukee, Wis. – American Family Insurance Amphitheatre
Sunday, September 2, Mount Pleasant, Mich. – Soaring Eagle Casino & Resort
Thursday, September 6, Cincinnati, Ohio – Riverbend Music Center
Friday, September 7, Clarkston, Mich. – DTE Energy Music Theatre
Saturday, September 8, Pittsburgh, Pa. – KeyBank Pavilion
Thursday, September 13, Saint Louis, Mo. – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Friday, September 14, Indianapolis, Ind. – Ruoff Home Mortgage Music Center
Saturday, September 15, Tinley Park, Ill. – Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
Thursday, September 20, Virginia Beach, Va. – Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater at Virginia Beach
Friday, September 21, Camden, N.J. – BB&T Pavilion
Saturday, September 22, Mansfield, Mass. – Xfinity Center
Thursday, September 27, Alpharetta, Ga. – Verizon Amphitheatre*
Friday, September 28, Tampa, Fla. – MIDFLORIDA Credit Union Amphitheatre
Saturday, September 29, West Palm Beach, Fla. – Coral Sky Amphitheatre
Thursday, October 4, Raleigh, N.C. – Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
Friday, October 5, Charlotte, N.C. – PNC Music Pavilion
Saturday, October 6, Bristow, Va. – Jiffy Lube Live
* denotes the show is Lady Antebellum only