If you thought Detroit and country music didn’t go together than you were wrong. Most people think of Detroit and think Eminem, 8 Mile, and rap and electronic music, not cowboy boots, fiddles, and a good old fashion hoedown. That just goes to show you that Detroit is an anomaly and has many different layers to it. It invites many different types of people for many different events, and WYCD’s Downtown Hoedown invites all the country loving folks to Comerica Park for one weekend to experience and enjoy country music together, in a city that isn’t solely all about rap and electronic music.
The 2014 Downtown Hoedown’s lineup was superb as always, including Dierks Bentley, Chris Young, Tyler Farr, Love and Theft, Big and Rich, Craig Campbell, The Band Perry and many more. Sunday was the best day because they had the two biggest acts, Big and Rich and The Band Perry. The Band Perry closed the event Sunday night and were easily the most popular performers there, but I could make a case that overall Big and Rich were the most well known band there. Although maybe not currently as popular, Big and Rich have five albums, and both band members have solo albums, as well as multiple Billboard hits for the group and individually.
Big and Rich, although only reuniting a few years ago in 2011 from their break in 2008, have since then made my favorite songs from them: “That’s Why I Pray,” and “Look At You.” My all time favorite from Big and Rich, and the absolute perfect wedding and party song is “Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy,” from their first album.
Yet, before even Big and Rich came on, Craig Campbell played his set, and I was impressed. He interacts well with the audience and is an entertaining performer to watch onstage. Although the only song I know of his was “Keep Them Kisses Comin’,” I did recognize a few others from the radio and I enjoyed every minute of it. The atmosphere at Comerica Park combined with perfect weather and seeing multiple big-name country artists is an experience I would recommend to as many people as possible.
After Campbell, Big and Rich took the stage with their iconic hats and all, and wow, did they put on a show to remember. Although they did not sing all of my favorites, they played many of their most popular songs, including “8th of November,” “Lost In This Moment,” and finished their set with “Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy.” They also invited Cowboy Troy onstage with them, who is a country rapper. Together they sang “American Pie,” and “Save A Horse Ride A Cowboy,” with an audience as enthusiastic as ever. With a diverse crowd of old and young, everyone, even the younger kids, knew the words to “American Pie,” and loved every minute of it. Big and Rich also had the Pistons mascot and cheerleaders up on stage dancing and making their grand finale a grand party.
After Big and Rich, The Band Perry took the stage. They opened with “Done,” and played all of their hits, including “Postcard From Paris,” “Chainsaw,” “Pioneer,” and many, many more. They are an amazing trio, along with being siblings, and they convey a realness and sense of family on stage. Telling the audience that we are all one big family enjoying country music, which of course, is the point of that whole weekend, to listen to country music together and have a good time. Not only did they perform all of their hits, but they also sang “Timber,” and as over played as that song has been, it gained a new shine when you hear it live, and hear a country version of it nonetheless. Then they did “Fat Bottomed Girls,” the audience lost their minds. After watching a few of their first songs, the majority of the audience was under the impression that this band and this family is perfect, so when they played some classic Queen, it was undeniable, they could do no wrong. Finally, after rocking hard all night, they left the arena to screaming fans, only to come back a few minutes later and perform an encore of “If I Die Young” and “Better Dig Two.” Forever my favorite song of theirs will be “If I Die Young,” and I think that is a sentiment shared with most people, because when that song began to play, the crowd took over. That is a classic song, and I would venture to say one of The Band Perry’s biggest hits ever, and will forever probably be one of their biggest hits. The crowd loves it, and took the song away, singing an entire chorus unaided and it was fantastic. The last song was “Better Dig Two,” and after singing and collectively playing the drums, The Band Perry finally exited, leaving an amazing weekend and country concert series behind them. Well-done Detroit. Well done.
Written by Alaina Stevenson