Music Reviews — 14 November 2013
Florida Georgia Line Headlines Three Sold Out Shows in NYC

Florida Georgia Line

Billboard 10th Annual Touring Conference and Awards Show
A LocalBozo.com Concert Review
Best Buy Theater, New York, NY
November 13, 2013

Concert Review: Florida Georgia Line at Best Buy Theater

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When you look around at the current musical landscape, one of the most prevailing questions is: where have all the young rock stars gone? If Wednesday night in New York City proved anything, it’s that they’ve all gone country! The first of three consecutive sold out nights kicked off at the Best Buy Theater headlined by country music’s fastest rising act Florida Georgia Line, creatively named by two guitarists that met in college from each respective state. The opening night show would be a benefit of sorts, sponsored by the folks at Citi and celebrating ten years of Billboard magazine’s touring conference and Awards as well as benefitting nonprofit organization Musicians on Call, a group that provides live and bedside musical performances to hospitalized patients.

It’s no small feat in 2013 to sell out one show, let alone three in a row, a testament to the following that the two bandmates- Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard- have etched for themselves by creating smash hit singles on the road to their debut album “Here’s to the Good Times” released less than a year ago. And to say that New York City isn’t exactly a ‘country town’ is also a bit of an understatement, making this string of shows that much more remarkable. But don’t tell that to the roughly 2,100 fans who packed the Best Buy Theater donning everything from straw cowboy hats to boots to tight fitting plaid shirts among the other regalia that we city folk figure that southerners probably wear.

With their bandmates already on stage, Kelly and Hubbard followed suit promptly at 9:30pm to as loud an ovation as you’ll hear in the building. Opening with “It’s Just What We Do,” the band took fans on a spirited 90 minute journey through their debut album, pausing at times to throw in several cover songs for good measure. Backed by a video board behind them that would befit an arena show, the seven live musicians admirably put on a high octane performance throughout, with the two frontmen hamming it up for the screaming ladies in the crowd with swiveling hips and pointing to the awestruck women situated in the first few rows of the standing room only space. The band rifled through newer singles like “Round Here” and “Stay” as well as a fitting cover of Bruno Mars‘ “Grenade,” before breaking out a fun little hip hop medley that included the likes of Nelly, 50 Cent, Busta Rhymes, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis to the delight of the dancing crowd.

Requesting the audience to hold up their lighters and cell phones is procedurally during slower tracks, but Florida Georgia Line’s performance was void of anything of the sort. And in the face of dozens of phones in the air, the group closed out the main set with a stirring rendition of “Shine On.” They stayed offstage only momentarily before re-emerging- their two singers now wearing sleeveless NYPD shirts, kicking off their encore with “Tell Me How.” Hubbard then addressed the still applauding audience with “New York City. There’s no place else I’d rather sing this next song.” “I’m In A Hurry” was up next, before the band’s launchpad single “Cruise” brought the entire room alive, rallying behind the lyrics of their most popular single to date- one that transcends country music and one that’s achieved massive crossover appeal. As the show came to a close, two massive cannons shot red, white and blue confetti overhead. And as the flurry of paper rained down on the sold out crowd, there was the band- reveling in it all- having the time of their lives. And better yet, they can do it all over again two more times.

- Jane Van Arsdale

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