Venue: City Limits Saloon - Raleigh, NC
Special Guests: David Adam Byrnes and Josh Phillips
Note: We were unable to get photos of David due to being on the bus to cover Brian's "Meet and Drink" fan experience. Photos of Josh Phillips being added soon.
* INTERVIEW COMING SOON - STAY TUNED! *
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One of the most honest artists you'll ever meet, Brian, knows how to make his fans know that they truly matter, like they're more than (in his own words), a "walking wallet". One of the ways he gets up close and personal is through his "Meet and Drink" fan experience. Fans can purchase a MD ticket which allows them to come onto the bus for an acoustic performance from Brian, conversation with Brian, band members and other fans, drinks and depending on the show, free take home souvenirs such as a beer koozie or signed cd. This is the first meet and drink I've ever taken part in at one of his shows and it is pure marketing genius. We spent about 30 minutes on the bus, Brian sang one of newest songs that he co-wrote with Brantley Gilbert, drank a few cold ones and laughed and told stories. Normally, there might be two groups for the MD, this night there were FOUR! David Adam Byrnes hung around for the first group before he had to go perform his set. The last group got a double shot of luck when Jason Michael Carroll decided to pop in and hang out for awhile. The band did their pre-show toast and I was lucky enough to get a birthday toast from the guys as well. If you ever attend one of Brian's shows, this is a MUST DO. This isn't a "Oh my God, I'm on the bus" kind of thing, this is a "Brian cares enough to spend one on one time with his fans" kind of experience. Very well thought out, very casual and very thoughtful of Brian. He spends time with each and every fan, there's no cattle call rush in and out like typical meet and greets. You'll love it!
David Adam Byrnes took the stage first and unfortunately, we missed it because we were on the bus. I hate it because I absolutely love David. His style is pure country, his voice is pure tradition and his music is nothing short of fantastic. The fans loved him and so did the venue. I foresee a return trip to City Limits in his future.
Up next was newcomer, Josh Phillips. Personally, I'm not familiar with Josh but local fans sure did and seemed to love him from his shows around the central NC area. He performed cover songs and got the audience pumped up and ready to the main event. By the time Brian hit the stage, this audience was ready for a real throw down and that's exactly what they got. We will be adding his photos to the photo gallery soon!
Brian performed his show a little differently this time around and it was awesome. He did his first set with his original local band including his dad. They came out and you could feel the love between these guys, it was obvious in every note. The band was fantastic. This was such a laid back, fun set comprised of Brian's older music and honestly, almost felt like he was playing in his backyard and we were all invited. Brian said this was probably going to be the last time he played with them as a band on the road and it was a very touching, emotional moment at the end of the set when they all came out, held hands and took a final bow. The love between Brian and his dad was so obvious and the pride they both have for each other filled the room. Great set!
The second set was with his Nashville band, the band who hits the stage with him every night on the Hell on Wheels Tour. This band knew how to kick it up a notch and get this audience even more "under the influence" (of the music that is!). They played songs that were on the new cd and songs that they perform on the road with Brantley. With the recent addition of former Florida Georgia Line drummer, Jason Schmidt, to the current lineup of Brian and Lincoln on guitar and Jenkins on bass, this band is just exactly as it needs to be, the right combination of talent, the right mix of attitude and whole lot of HELL YEAH! It may have been cold outside but it was scorching inside. The venue stayed packed until the very last note was played and the last boot left the stage and the applause continued even after the stage was empty.
Thank you to Brian, the bands, the openers, the audience and City Limits for un unforgettable, fun night. Please, if he's in your area, do not miss the opportunity to see Brian perform live. It's how country should be: straight forward, no filler and in your face honest music.