Thomas Rhett Takes Care of Business in Nashville [Review]
Thomas Rhett took care of his business so his fans could enjoy the party in Nashville on Friday night (Sept. 29). The hitmaker's Home Team Tour 23 stop at Bridgestone Arena is what happens when an artist in his prime takes his job very seriously.
- Rhett's Home Team Tour 23 wraps on Saturday night (Sept. 30) in Nashville.
- On Friday, he released his 20 Number Ones album.
- His set list included 17 of those No. 1 songs.
"Businesslike" and "serious" are actually two of the worst possible words one could use to describe the 90-minute set. From the first beat of "Vacation" to the last note of "T-Shirt," Rhett was loose and free-spirited. He bounced around the stage like an athlete, but took plenty of time to let fans up front and in the rafters know they were appreciated.
The show's breathless, four-song open was Chesney-esque, and as the night progressed, there were chances to point out more similarities. Neither man is ever heard breathing heavy into the microphone after an aerobic performance. Like Chesney, Rhett has found comfort in speaking to large audiences as if he was speaking to each person individually.
You can't do either of these things if you're skipping workouts or letting your mind wander during quiet moments in the day. The best performing artists sink all their emotional energy into the show and think through each transition and interaction to the point that improvising comes naturally.
That's where Rhett is headed. He and his band know these songs so well that they flow like grace at Sunday dinner. One gets the sense that if you were to stir TR from a sleep at 4AM and sing, "Hop on out and let the tailgate fall," he'd answer with, "Get drunk on you with no alcohol" (lyrics from "Make Me Wanna") and not even remember it the next morning.
The danger in doing that is that unrehearsed performances can flop. Or, an artist will spend too much time gabbing and leave everyone bored.
A small deviation from his set list would have fit this show, but that's nit-picking. Rhett decided that the set he's developed on tour this year was well-oiled and hot, so he went with it. He was a chef serving his most famous dish to a populist audience. In short, he understood the assignment.
At the risk of making country music's funkiest hitmaker seem un-cool, we'll point out one more remarkable thing he does. Actually, it's something he doesn't do as he hops, skips, dances and smiles around his stage.
The Home Team Tour isn't a drunk fest. Sure, Rhett has songs about beer, and he'll sing about wine, but as a performer, his sober focus drives the show. It's kid-friendly without being lame. In addition to avoiding curse words and innuendo, Rhett doesn't glorify alcohol in the way so many country artists do, and dang if that doesn't hit like a cool breeze in summer.
Thomas Rhett’s Home Team Tour 23 Set List, Nashville (Sept. 29):
2. “Look What God Gave Her”
3. “Half of Me”
4. “Crash and Burn”
5. “Life Changes”
6. “Slow Down Summer”
8. “Marry Me”
9. “Notice" / "Get Me Some of That" / “It Goes Like This”
10. “Make Me Wanna”
11. “Beer Can’t Fix” (With Nate Smith)
12. “Star of the Show”
13. “Hound Dog / “I Got You (I Feel Good)” / “Beast of Burden” / “Jessie’s Girl” / “3AM” / “The Middle” / “Shut Up and Dance” (Covers)
14. “Die a Happy Man”
16. “Craving You”
17. “What’s Your Country Song”
PICTURES: See Inside Thomas Rhett's $4.7 Million Rural Paradise
Gallery Credit: Sterling Whitaker