It went from best to best-er to best-est at the Huntington Center Thursday night as three powerful acts took the stage during the Rascal Flatts' "Changed Tour."
The eagerly anticipated headliners, Rascal Flatts, were not the only show-stoppers to rock the sold-out crowd as recent break-out group Eli Young Band and Billboard-topping Little Big Town each gave about an hour-long performance to an overjoyed audience.
The three groups capitalized on soulful harmonies and energetic jam sessions, with both Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts promoting new albums.
Gary LeVox (decked out in bedazzled jeans and a rhinestone T-Shirt reading "Pain is weakness leaving the body"), Jay DeMarcus, and Joe Don Rooney opened the night with "Banjo," "Changed," ‘"These Days," and "Summer Nights" before asking the audience to shout out songs they wanted to hear.
Clips of ‘Stand,’ ‘My Wish,’ and ‘Lean On Me’ were among the lucky ballads selected as the trio made jokes with the crowd, gave high fives, and tossed out guitar picks.
Rascal Flatts, originally from Columbus, has enjoyed a chart-topping career for more than a decade, with millions of records sold and hundreds of performances under their belt.
With such an impressive history, the group made it a priority to mix past successes with fresh new sounds from a set list that spanned nine albums and 14 No. 1 hits.
A 12-year legacy of music-making didn't add up to a longer performance, however, and the band exited the stage after playing for about an hour and a half.
Luckily, an impressive music lineup, heavy audience interaction and a killer final performance, which included Eli Young Band, Little Big Town and Rascal Flatts all performing "We're an American Band" together left the crowd feeling satisfied.
During the show, one lucky fan got to celebrate her birthday on stage as Rascal Flatts pulled her up for a sing-along.
Overall, the evening felt like a family reunion between loyal fans and veteran country-hit makers celebrating a stockpile of adored songs and a crowd that knew the words to all of them.
The group expressed several times how happy they were to be in their home state of Ohio, "the heart of it all."
After wrapping up their final song, and starting one of many O-H-I-O chants, the group is next headed to Fort Wayne, Ind.
Rascal Flatts will wrap up the "Changed Tour" in the United States Oct. 27 before shipping out to perform three shows in Australia in March.
Contact Ashley Sepanski at email@example.com or 419-724-6082.