Toledo,Ohio(June 16,2022)– What does the Historic Toledo Zoo and a country music concert have in common? Honestly nothing. That is until you mix a 90-year old onsite amphitheater with Lee Brice, one of the most prolific hit makers currently in country music,then the dynamics change. Add 4000 fans into the intimate venue to share the experience with and you have the makings of one of the most anticipated shows of the summer at the Toledo, Ohio landmark,
Celebrating the return of large-scale concerts, the Toledo audience gave the country hitmaker a hero’s welcome.Taking full advantage, Brice rolled through a catalog of chart toppers and got plenty of buy-in, no matter what the topic. Frankly, every song at the Thursday night show was a raucous sing-along song from the near capacity crowd.
Brice, who was backed by a five-piece band, was in full control right from the hit and able to get the crowd up on their feet as he belted out “More Beer,” a cut off his latest LP Hey World, when he took the stage. It was followed up with the infectious “Hard to Love,” along with the recent single that is getting some serious airtime on radio stations nationwide, the bluesy “Soul.“
Part Garth Brooks, part Toby Keith, Brice knows just how to pace a concert for maximum effect. He had a good mix of styles and a few stories that helped newcomers understand his journey. Lighting up the theater with cellphones (and no stage lights), he told the story of a soldier making the ultimate sacrifice as he brought on stage a Purple Heart recipient along with his family to the deafening roar from the appreciative fans. It was a moving tribute to all of our military personnel that segued brilliantly into the emotionally charged “I Drive Your Truck,” performed under the glow of the thousands of cellphones that illuminated the dark summer sky. Easily, it was one of the facility’s most moving moments. As all good story tellers go, Brice continued to feed off the crowd, slowing things down with the heartfelt “Boy,” a father’s song to his son that got a few in his captivated audience a little misty eyed also.
Brice leaned heavily on his hits throughout the night playing eight of his nine number one songs spaced graciously throughout the 21-song setlist. He also performed a cover of massive hit “Crazy Girl,” a song that was written by Brice but originally recorded by the Eli Young Band. His backing band, The Love Cannons expanded on the studio version of the song, really bringing it to life. Without question his take on this warm summer evening would have garnered a similar reaction, but it is a chance a songwriter has to take as a performer himself.
But the night wasn’t just about story telling and a well placed ballad or two. Brice appeared as glad as the fans to be at The Toledo Zoo for the intimate concert setting. He gave them plenty of reasons to rejoice and enough hits to remind them what they had been missing. Whether it was letting his band cut loose during a cover of the classic rock outfit Bostons “Foreplay,” or enjoying solos stage-front while Brice took a well deserved break offstage, the night resonated well with everyone.
As the night was winding to a close, Brice cut loose with a barrage of hits any artist would be proud of. First, 2019 award winning hit “I Hope You’re Happy Now,” which was originally scored as duet with Carly Pearce. Brice asked the crowd to help with Pearce’s part in the first verse and without reserve, the packed house obliged, singing it at the top of their lungs. With the nights momentum now on serious a roll, a crowd sized proportion of party favorite “Drinking Class,” was severed up next that flowed over into the main set ending cut and another number one hit, “Parking Lot Party.”
When band was called back to the stage for a well deserved and appreciated encore, the pace was slowed by a song that Brice dedicates to his wife at every performance,”I Dont Dance,” which was accompanied by the associated video on the massive backdrop. Slow and sweet, it had couples swaying back and forth reliving the moment of their first dances in matrimonial bliss. Subsequently, “Rumor,” with its upbeat bluesy lyrics had the same effect but on a whole different scale. Each cut had its own target audience based on the lyrics, but at this point, nobody seemed to care one way or the other. It was loud, fun and fans were fully engaged. The night ended with a over the top performance of “One of Them Girls” that had security standing down and allowing fans to get a selfie with Brice in the background. A little shaky at first but the band seemed to be enjoying it and best of all, the fans were respectful of one another and each others safety.
He may not dance, but Lee Brice gave his fans plenty of reasons to rejoice and enough hits to keep everyone entertained. Based on the chatter of the fans as they left The Toledo Zoo Thursday evening, Brice exceeded their every expectation and then some. Lee Brice Label Me Proud Tour runs through Aug 17,2022.
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