Luke Combs brought his first headlining tour to Canada last night (Mar. 28) for a sold-out stop at Budweiser Gardens in London and it was the ass kickin’, beer drinkin’ party of a lifetime.
He’s been on the road with his Beer Never Broke My Heart Tour since February and visits Oshawa and Kingston over the next two days before heading back to the US.
London was certainly ready for a Thursday night of country music and scalper ticket prices were as high as $500 just for the cheap seats. Joined by LANCO and newcomer Jameson Rodgers, it felt like a magical 90s country tour when artists like Alan Jackson, Brooks and Dunn and Garth Brooks ruled the arenas. It’s obvious Luke Combs shouldn’t be taken for granted. He showed why fairly quick rise to fame is complete justified.
When we first heard the concert was a sellout, we figured that meant that this was another show at the east end of the arena. Wrong. The place was packed, top to bottom, and was nearly the entire length of the whole arena – something usually reserved for much more established artists.
Combs stage had a woodgrain finish to it with a nice backsplash of lights and effects, including a massive circular HD screen which was crystal clear even from the back of the arena. Armed with about 20 tunes, Combs charmed the audience with his beer drinking anthems, including some beer pouring graphics on that screen as he sang the fan favourite Beer Can. Thousands held up their drinks throughout the song and for many others he played throughout the night.
He’s got a certain charisma that’s hard to describe. He’s not jumping all over the stage like Garth Brooks and he’s not intimate and storytelling as Alan Jackson, but he navigates from side-to-side throughout the show and he comes across like your best friend. That best friend you have those playful weekend parties with.
Throughout the night he spoke about Canada quite a bit and how excited he was to be back in the country. It’s a whirlwind of success all at once and he seems to be handling it with grace. His career has seen the release of five singles since 2016, all of which reached #1 status in the US (four of them reached the top here), as well as New Artist of the Year at the 2018 CMAs and a nomination for Best New Artist at this year’s Grammy Awards. And that’s for a career that only started in 2014.
Combs played all those hits, of course, as well as material throughout his career, including his recent cover version of Brand New Man with country rock originators Brooks & Dunn that appears on their new album of duets.
Combs band has some chops. When introducing the members, they broke out into different performances of some country and rock favourites like All My Rowdy Friends, Rock My World (Little Country Girl) and Desperado.
Some of Combs more impressive performances included Houston, We Got a Problem, the 2016 super hit Hurricane and his signature song She Got The Best of Me, which closed the night.
Luke Combs is a must-see artist in 2019 and if he heads your way, don’t miss out.
Guests LANCO, who are another fairly new act, were a lot rockier than expected. There was a lot of energy on that stage as the band tore through material from their debut album Hallelujah Nights, including the hits Long Live Tonight, Born to Love You and the #1 love song Greatest Love Story, which got its introduction to the world through the Netflix series The Ranch and popular TV show The Bachelor.
Brandon Lancaster is a great frontman with his arms constantly pumping in the air as he bounces and jumps around every corner of the stage – getting the audience pumped every minute. Guitarist Eric Steedly is a gem. His playing gave the band that rock crunch that makes them so exciting. He looked a guitar hero on the stage and his poofy hair gave him a bit of a Slash vibe as well.
Teaming Combs with LANCO was a brilliant move. The pair gave the crowd their all and went through the whole gamut of country music – rock, classic country, 90s country and ballads.
Newcomer Jameson Rodgers hit the stage first with a solid performance and a great introduction to his music. He’s best known for writing Talk You Out Of It by Florida Georgia Line and I Don’t Know About You by Chris Lane.
All Photos by Dan Savoie