I, along with approximately twenty-five hundred people, took over The Fox Theatre on Wednesday April 27 to see the artists from the ABC smash-hit TV show, Nashville for the Nashville in Concert tour for an absolutely glorious evening to rejoice in the joys and wonders of the songs from the show.
Personally, as a fan from the show from the beginning, it was a great opportunity to witness (for all of us fans) the songs that have played not only a key role in the story line of the four seasons run of Nashville (fingers crossed for a fifth run in the fall), but songs that personally hit each of us as well. Like all great music does, it’s a collective experience, yet personal journey we join along together in. What was so fantastic about Nashville in Concert was getting the chance to see these musicians who are actors, who then play musicians on television perform in a live setting – in one sense it was very meta for me.
Another great thing about getting the chance to see Charles Esten (aka Deacon Claybourne), Clare Bowen (aka Scarlett O’Connor), Chris Carmack (aka Will Lexington) and Aubrey Peeples (aka Layla Grant) perform their own music was that it was so vulnerable, yet inviting at the same time. They were willing to share their personal journeys with all of us. Not to mention we got to hear a new music from the show that hasn’t aired as of yet.
In the beginning each artist came out to do one song individually, after that they kind of alternated between one another and did duets for the rest of the evening. Chris Carmack started the night off with his first song, followed by Aubrey Peeples, Clare Bowen and then Charles Esten. For me, Chris Carmack performance was pure showmanship, and can he play a mean blues guitar. The highlight was when he performed “Pieces of You” (which is one of his original songs). His parents drove in four hours to see him perform at The Fox Theatre and you could tell he was so honored to be there. That was the key theme of the night for all the artists up on stage, it was about humility, honor and just being a sense of gratefulness that they were able to connect with their fans in a true and honest way.
Aubrey Peeples was up next and the only words that came out of my mouth were “damn can she sing.” I mean I knew she could sing from the show, but live – it was like a dream, as she performed “The Book” which is a new song that is set to be played on the second to last episode of the season. She also performed “Too Far From You,” “Soul Survivor” and “Break it to Me Gently.” Clare Bowen, along with her fiance, performed together for all of her songs. It was so sweet and endearing seeing them so in love with each other.
For me, the personal favorite moment was “Hand to Hold,” which happens to be the song that reconnects Clare’s character, Scarlett, with her uncle Deacon (Charles Esten) as they performed it together at the Beverly in the show. Clare was raw and exposed as she announced to the audience that she would be returning back home (Australia) in a few weeks to donate as much bone marrow to her brother as she could, because he has always been her rock, the one person she has turned to her whole life and now he needs her. For her to be so unfiltered and honest was tear jerking. And the voice that she has is like angels singing.
When Charles Esten stepped onto stage, he said “being on Nashville is like a fine meal, but being here with you is like dessert.” Which sent everyone into a frenzy. Charles Esten was a lot of fun up on stage, he was really feeling himself and having a blast, part himself and part his character shined through, as he played “Just Like You.” For the final song, the entire cast came back on stage with Esten and as a tribute, for the sake of a tribute only, they performed “Purple Rain” in honor of Prince, as The Fox Theatre was the last series of shows Prince performed prior to his untimely passing.
This was a truly amazing experience to have, not only as a fan of the show, but as a fan of music. If you get the chance to see Nashville in Concert, this would be a ticket worth buying.
Nashville Live in Concert Photography – Photos by Danielle Boise