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Concert Reviews:
Anything goes at Florida Georgia Line's DTE show

Digital First Media, @GraffonMusic

Posted: Saturday, June 18, 2016

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Florida Georgia Line has named its second headlining tour after the title track from its forthcoming third album, "Dig Your Roots."

But Friday night's, June 17, show at the DTE Energy Music Theatre lived up to another of the chart-topping country duo's song titles -- "Anything Goes."

How else can you describe a high-spirited and high-octane 90-minutes that went from country to hip-hop, rock to reggae, covers of Papa Roach and Backstreet Boys songs, and even an intimate, Nashville-style song pull? It was a veritable kitchen sink that the rowdy 15,000 or so at DTE ate up like the ear candy it was, cementing FGL as a bona fide headliner after just two albums -- albeit also a potent 10 No. 1 singles.

Following opening sets by Kane Brown, a rough-voiced Cole Swindell and the pulverizing Cadillac Three, FGL's Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley started the party, appropriately enough, with "Party People," singing a capella from a second stage at the back of the DTE pavilion and making their way down an isle to their five-piece band on the main-stage, a clean-looking set with moving lights, a large video screen and smoke jets and flamethrowers deployed at varying intervals.

The hits -- including "Round Here," "Anything Goes," "Confession" -- came in rapid succession, most showing off the duo's so-called Bro Country stylistic blend of hip-hop, rock and country, while Hubbard and Kelley also previewed the "Dig Your Roots" album with three songs, including the recent No. 1 "H.O.L.Y.," vibey, rootsy "Smooth" and the R&B-flavored title track.

But the night's strongest segment was coziest, when the duo went back to the satellite stage, lit a faux campire and, after an acoustic rendition of "Dirt," brought Swindell and the Cadillac Three's Jaren Johnston up for snippets of songs the four had written for others, including Jason Adlean's "Burnin' It Down," Luke Bryan's "Roller Coaster," Thomas Rhett's "Get Me Some of That," Michigander Frankie Ballard's "Sunshine & Whiskey." It was a welcome break from the bombast, and Johnston closed with Cadillac Three's new single "Drunk Like You," urging the DTE crowd to "please make that...a hit."

Hubbard and Kelley smartly eased back into the main show with a trio of reggae songs -- Bob Marley's "Everything's Gonna Be Alright" and FGL's own "Life is a Honeymoon" and "Sun Daze" before finishing the main set with the anthemic "Get Your Shine On." The encore had another trick up their sleeve; a "mixtape" of disparate influences -- UGK's "Ridin' Dirty," Toby Keith's "Should've Been a Cowboy," Papa Roach's "Last Resort," House of Pain's "Jump Around" and a two-song salute to the Backstreet Boys, who were Kelley's first concert and Hubbard's first album. It was goofy but heartfelt, bolstered by personal photos of the pair as toddlers.

The only thing left for FGL to do was "Cruise" to a close, which the duo did with its first big single, bringing the show back home after journeying through a wildly varied array of music that went well beyond the country world the group calls home. .

Send your thoughts and comments to Gary Graff


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