THE 48TH ANNUAL CMA AWARDS – “The 48th Annual CMA Awards” airs live from the Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 5 (8:00-11:00 PM/ET) on the ABC Television Network. (ABC/Image Group LA)
By Conner Board
Ask any country music fan who attends the University of Nevada, Reno, and they will tell you that there was an intense excitement running through their veins when they heard of last week’s concert. The Associated Students of the University of Nevada brings talented and well-known performers for every university show, but country performers are rarely on that list — until last Thursday. The “Country Concert” at the Reno Ballroom featuring Dustin Lynch and RaeLynn finally gave Nevada students a chance to stomp their boots and swing dance the night away.
RaeLynn, who found fame on the television series “The Voice” in 2012 as a part of Team Blake, opened up the show to a very excited, plaid-covered crowd. The audience sang along to her current single “For a Boy.” If you saw selfies of students with RaeLynn floating around social media the following day, it is because RaeLynn loves to take selfies with fans, and who is going to complain about that?
Not only did the crowd show love for RaeLynn, but RaeLynn also shared her love for Reno in multiple Instagram photos the following day. In one picture her caption stated “Reno, you were so energetic and magical last night. Thank you for being amazing [insert kissy face emojii].” Yes, RaeLynn is actually that adorable. Yes, she is really only 21. And yes, I think every college aged female wants to be her — no shame.
RaeLynn closed her set with her hit single “God Made Girls” as the venue began to fill up with even more students ready to see the headliner Dustin Lynch.
Unlike RaeLynn who loved having pictures on fans’ phones, Lynch preferred not to have phones at his meet-and-greet session. But some gym-goers got a treat earlier in the day when Lynch decided to do his workout at our very own Lombardi Fitness Center.
Although most of us weren’t graced by Lynch getting his grind on, we did get to see him as he took the stage for about two hours. After opening with his party startin’ song “To The Sky,” he told the crowd that he instantly felt like a part of the Wolf Pack and gave a cheers to all the boot-wearers. He had every girl in the house screaming when he sang “Wild in Your Smile” and got even more hollering from the audience when he played his current single “Mind Reader.”
Not only does Lynch have a big cowboy hat and a big ol’ smile – he also has a big voice. He arguably sounds better live than on his albums, which says a lot about his high level of talent. Not only did he show off his vocals – he even let some Nevada students showcase their voices.
The country star pulled two students up onstage to do karaoke. He had a huge spinning wheel to find out what genre or artists the students would have to sing. A variety of songs were performed, including “When The Sun Goes Down” by Kenny Chesney, “Pour Some Sugar On Me” by Def Leppard and even against Lynch’s wishes “Say My Name” by Beyonce. One of the two lucky students landed on “Shot with the Band,” but Lynch followed the university’s no alcohol policy and said he would just take one himself. After someone yelled “frat party” from the crowd, Lynch said he needed somewhere to party later that night, but who knows where he ended up, because I sadly don’t.
Although Lynch shared his love of partying, he also shared some deeper moments with the crowd. He shared that his grandparents had been together for 61 years, and after his performance of “Cowboys and Angels” he thanked everyone present for changing his life with the success of that song.
He ended his set by playing “Where It’s At,” and if you weren’t paying attention you may have wondered where he was at, as he set sail on a raft across the crowd. Crowd surfing is pretty cool, but I have to say, crowd rafting takes the cake. After he arrived back onstage from his venture atop the hands of fans, he exited the stage thanking the crowd. But any real Dustin Lynch fan knows that he had not played one of his most popular songs, “Hell Of A Night.”
Through the loud yelling of “Encore!” chanted, the crowd heard guitars being grabbed and saw silhouettes on the stage — and, well, we got our encore.
Lynch and RaeLynn put on one heck of a show, leaving us all wanting more (hint, hint, Department of Programming). But to Nevada ASUN, from all of us country folk and newly converted country music fans — we thank you.
Conner Board studies journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @b_e_nelson.