Show Reviews

Show Review: The Country Comeback Tour ft. Shenandoah, Billy Dean, & Wade Hayes

 

THE COUNTRY COMEBACK TOUR

Ft. Shenandoah, Billy Dean, & Wade Hayes

Thursday April 14, 2022

@ The Wildhorse Saloon in Nashville, TN

(Review by: Jeffrey Kurtis)

 

Line dancers jam packed the iconic Wildhorse Saloon’s dance floor an hour before Wade Hayes, Billy Dean, and Shenandoah hit the stage for their dress rehearsal of The Country Comeback Tour.

With Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It” radiating across the venues sound system, the feel-good mood had been set with a final pre-show line dance while the fans continued to flood in as Marty Raybon, Billy Dean, and Wade Hayes came out on stage and welcomed the crowd.

“Tonight’s gonna be 90 minutes of 90’s country music,” excitedly stated Raybon. “Y’all ready for some country music?” he asked as the crowd roared in ovation and the opening notes of “Next to You, Next to Me” began to play.

With Marty Raybon starting the song out on leads, he immediately had the crowd bopping along with the rhythm and singing the familiar chorus before Hayes dropped in to sing the second verse and Dean took over the third. By opening the entire show this way, it became an instant showcase of what makes these three artists some of country music’s best male voices, while also showcasing their incredible ability to come together and harmonize with one another; something they would do again later in the night during their encore.

Wade Hayes was first of the three acts to perform a solo set, and he instantly turned up the honk-tonk as he ripped into “On A  Good Night,” before slowing things down with “The Day She Left Tulsa (In A Chevy)” and then pulling the dancers back out to the hardwood floor with the two-steppin’ rhythm of “Don’t Stop.”’

“This next song is the second song I wrote after I moved to Nashville,” said Hayes before humbly addressing the fans. “And it’s the song that became my second number one thanks to y’all,” he finished as he delivered the slower paced smash “I’m Still Dancin’ with You,” which saw several couples heading out to the dance floor to hold each other closely as they swayed back and forth to the 1995 hit.

“This next one is a remake, but it’s still one of the most requested songs I get today,” Hayes said as he performed his spot-on rendition of the Gary Stewart classic “She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles),” a song which Hayes had first recorded back in 1998 for the Tribute to Tradition compilation, which has since become his own in its way and a cornerstone to his own performances.

Returning to the boot heel clicking rhythm, Hayes rounded out his set with “Old Enough to Know Better,” which Billy Dean would join in on backing vocals and rhythm guitar as the show then shifted into his set with “We Just Disagree,” during which he led the crowd on the first of many sing-alongs they would experience with him over the next half hour.

“This song is dedicated to all the folks like you who are out there and have made 90’s country music cool again,” said Dean, before he gratefully thanked the fans with his words and through song by playing “If There Hadn’t Been You.”

“This was one that I wrote with Richard Leigh, and it was a deep cut for Randy Travis but became the song that got me my record deal,” Dean explained. “And it went on to become the Academy of Country Music’s song of the year 30 years ago,” he said while shaking his head in heartfelt disbelief of such an accomplishment as he delivered “Somewhere in My Broken Heart,” which he immediately flowed into “Billy the Kid” while invoking another sing-along with the audience.

“The next song is so special. I wrote it with my good friend Ritchie McDonald about our kids,” Dean told before pointing to one of his own who happened to be in the crowd as he played the touching hit song, “Let Them Be Little.”

“This last song was the first one for me that ever came out on radio, and we recorded it in the style of the old gospel quartet,” he described as Marty Raybon joined him onstage and lent his crisp, clean vocal to the song to help create the exact feel achieved on the recording of “Only Here For A Little While.”

“I guarantee there’s a bubba somewhere in here tonight,” exclaimed Raybon as Shenandoah kicked into their set with “If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too),” quickly followed by “Mama Knows.”

“So, this next song we’re gonna play tonight did really well for us back in 1993,” said Raybon. “It’s for all you hopeless romantics out there tonight” he finished as the opening notes of “The Moon Over Georgia” began and couples hit the dance floor once again just as they had done earlier in the night.

With encouragement from Raybon, the crowd clapped along with the melody of “I Got You” and then allowed themselves to be transported straight out to the country way of life through an amazing performance of “Sunday in the South.”

“Love is a good thing, isn’t it?” asked Raybon before he delivered the definition of love from the Gospel. “2000 years ago, at Calvary, Jesus showed His ultimate love to us and left us with the one commandment to love each another. Love is a good, good thing, ain’t it?” Raybon asked again while earning an approving cheer from the audience as he led another sing-along with them during “I Wanna Be Loved Like That.”

“It has been an absolute joy being here with you tonight,” Raybon gratefully said with a head nod of appreciation before talking about all the great music that was recorded in their hometown of Muscle Shoals, Alabama before playing a medley that included some of those monster hits; “When A Man Loves A Woman,” “Mustang Sally,” “Family Traditon,” “Old Time Rock-n-Roll,” and “Sweet Home Alabama,” the latter which caused a rousing “woooo” to emerge collectively from the crowd as they shook the rafters with an enthusiastic yell as the opening riff dropped in.

Leading another crowd sing-along, Marty Raybon lifted his voice into the power-punch lyric of their huge hit “Two Dozen Roses,” before Wade Hayes and Billy Dean joined Shenandoah on stage for “Church on Cumberland Road,” during which not one person in the audience, including this writer, could sit still. Shoulders were dancing, heads were bobbing, and the dance floor was packed once again as the distinct sound of boot heels meeting hardwood floor kept steady rhythm alongside the drums.

However, the trio wasn’t quite finished yet.

After a brief exit from the stage that saw the crowd begin to chant for one more song, and then hoot and holler when the stage lights dimmed into a blue fade, the three of them returned to the stage and encouraged everyone to sing with them as they performed an amazing version of “Will The Circle Be Unbroken,” providing a very fitting close to a night that showed that country music, in all its different variations, will always coincide with one another and live as one big family banded together by great stories, relatable lyrics, and passion that transcends between the heart and soul of the artist with that of the country music lover.

FULL SET LIST

1) Next to You, Next to Me (Marty Raybon, Billy Dean, Wade Hayes)

2) On A Good Night (Wade Hayes)

3) The Day She Left Tulsa (In A Chevy) (Wade Hayes)

4) Don’t Stop (Wade Hayes)

5) I’m Still Dancin’ with You (Wade Hayes)

6) She’s Actin’ Single (I’m Drinkin’ Doubles) (Wade Hayes)

7) Old Enough to Know Better (Wade Hayes)

8) We Just Disagree (Billy Dean)

9) If There Hadn’t Been You (Billy Dean)

10) Somewhere in My Broken Heart (Billy Dean)

11) Billy the Kid (Billy Dean)

12) Let Them Be Little (Billy Dean)

13) Only Here For A Little While (Billy Dean)

14) If Bubba Can Dance (I Can Too) (Shenandoah)

15) Mama Knows (Shenandoah)

16) The Moon Over Georgia (Shenandoah)

17) I Got You (Shenandoah)

18) Sunday in the South (Shenandoah)

19) I Wanna Be Loved Like That (Shenandoah)

20) Song medley of Muscle Shoals recordings (Shenandoah)

21) Two Dozen Roses (Shenandoah)

22) Church on Cumberland Road (Shenandoah)

23) Will The Circle Be Unbroken (Marty Raybon, Billy Dean, Wade Hayes)

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