Florida Georgia Line rolled their ‘Dig Your Roots’ tour into Vancouver for the 64th show of a tour that’s taken them from Biloxi, Mississippi across the US and Canada and winds down next week in Calgary. That’s six straight months of playing almost every night.
Chris Lane opens the show with a simple set and his name in large, white, lighted letters. He is country pop for sure and plays his set with two or three radio hits to a smallish crowd that is taking its time getting seated. Chris has a nice touch for his current hit, a ballad entitled ‘For Her’. He has two red carnations that he presents to two lucky ladies in the front row. They love it. “Fix’ and ‘Broken Windshield View’ get appreciative reactions from a growing crowd.
After a brief intermission, Chris Lane was followed by Granger Smith, a singer-songwriter from Texas who looks much younger than his 37 years. It’s probably the smile. It is huge, and always there. Although his songs aren’t quite as well-known as Lane’s hits, Granger has solid stage presence. The backdrop shows his name bracketed in a large set of deer antlers. This is another guy that should be exhausted. He and his wife welcomed their third child during the tour and is probably getting more rest on the road.
Granger is another artist that is considered country pop, or, bro country to be more specific. Hits like ‘Backroad Song’ and ‘If the Boot Fits’ make that pretty clear. Smith also uses an alter ego in Earl Dibbles Jr. a persona that is featured on several tracks. Considering who he is opening for, it fits right in.
Florida Georgia Line
Country pop? Bro country? These guys invented it. The duo of Brian Kelly (BK) and Tyler Hubbard descend from platforms lowered from the ceiling belting out “This is How We Roll’ to a screaming sellout crowd Everyone is here now and getting into it, singing every line. Tyler is sporting his usual ‘man bun’, black jeans and jacket (which doesn’t even last one song) over a sleeveless black T-shirt. BK is in ripped jeans, work shirt with the sleeves ripped off and heavy work boots with a flat-brimmed Stetson.
The set list is strong, almost all number 1 hits. In fact, 5 songs have hit #1 in the US, 10 in Canada (although two of those stayed on the shelf). The two artists form a very strong song-writing team but it’s clearly Hubbard that leads onstage. He takes lead on every song except one (‘Islands’). Not quite a Michael/Ridgeley relationship but Hubbard certainly looks and sounds the lead.
The crowd gets louder with each song, and when FGL brings out local country star Dallas Smith to accompany on ‘Stay’, the roof is visibly shaking. It is a good combination, Smith and FGL, but not new…Smith opening for FGL at the Washington State Fair two years ago and it fit then, too. The song-writing styles are similar in that many of their songs are about first or summer loves, being young and having fun.
Mid-concert, the two southern boys head to the rear of the arena for a little bonfire singing on a smaller stage that is ringed with strings of white light. There’s a piano and a roaring fire to set the scene and when they break into ‘Dirt’ the arena turns into a firefly-filled summer night sky. ‘H.O.L.Y.’ keeps the feel-good feeling going. The ovation that follows is long, and loud. Tyler and BK are just smiling at each other, a bit overwhelmed.
Back at the front stage, the concert kicks into high gear with some drinking songs with openers Lane and Smith returning for ‘Sundaze’. It’s a full-on party. FGL closes out with the megahit ‘Shine On’ and leave to thunderous applause.
The wait for an encore is very short. The boys are back with ‘Party People’ and everyone sings along. Tyler feels that everyone is friends now, which feels a little contrived but they want to share some pictures so cue the slide show. Photos from childhood cue a ‘mix-tape’ of songs of all genres from country to alt. metal to Backstreet Boys. The crowd is eating this up! ‘Cruise’ ends a night of high-octane country music that had fire and steam erupting throughout the show. It was a spectacle. Now go get some rest, boys!