Show Reviews



W/ Nate Smith & Avery Anna

Saturday October 28, 2023

@ UPMC Events Center in Moon, PA

(Review Written By: Chad Carlson)

By now, most of the country music world knows the story of Cole Swindell’s rise to fame.  After graduating college and selling merchandise for Luke Bryan while writing songs on the road, the Dawson, Georgia native made a name for himself in Music City as a talented songwriter. After penning tunes for the likes of Bryan, Chris Young, and Florida Georgia Line, he then independently released his debut single in 2013, and his career has taken off since.

The 12-time chart-topping, multi-Platinum country music superstar brought his TWELVE TOUR to UPMC Events Center in Moon, PA on Saturday night. For a guy who got his feet wet in Nashville as a songwriter, Swindell has turned himself into a must-see entertainer.  From the onset of his performance, he commanded the stage and demanded the attention of the adoring audience, who stood on their feet for the duration of his 20-song, nearly two-hour set.

Having kicked off on October 12th, the TWELVE TOUR consists of, yes, you guessed it - twelve dates, with Cole promising a unique performance each night.

“My fans know 12 is my number…so, here we go…12 shows, 12 different sets.”

From the first moment he stepped on stage on Saturday, it was obvious Swindell was taking it all in, sporting a personalized Pittsburgh Pirates jersey, grinning from ear to ear and engaging with the screaming fans every chance he could, during and in-between songs.

“When I saw Pittsburgh on the schedule, I knew this was going to be a good time,” he told the swooning audience.  “I thought, these people are rowdy, and they love their music and their sports, just like me.”

The one-of-a-kind set list represented every phase of Cole’s career, from his self-titled debut through his massively successful ‘Stereotype’.  Rocking through party anthems “Single Saturday Night”, “Flatliner”, and “Let Me See Ya Girl” and intertwining the crooning, sentimental favorites “Break Up In The End”, “Middle Of A Memory”, and “You Should Be Here”, Swindell offered something for everyone in attendance. 

Perhaps the best of the countless feel-good moments of the night was when he broke into “Chillin’ It”, his debut single which put him on the map  many fans and became his first No. 1 hit. 

The performance’s final stretch sent the crowd into a frenzy, as Cole ran off a medley of six country hits from years past, including “Neon Moon”, “Carrying Your Love With Me”, and “Should’ve Been A Cowboy”, before diving into his set closer, his No. 1 smash “She Had me at Heads Carolina”.

Swindell’s first headlining show in the Pittsburgh, PA area in years left the fans filing out of UPMC Events Center exhausted from singing and dancing all evening, but also in admiration of the performance they just witness which featured some of the biggest hit singles country music has offered from the past few years. 

Paradise, California native Nate Smith has been on the road non-stop in 2023 in support of his self-titled debut album, released in April.  Spending a lot of the year opening for Thomas Rhett on his HOME TEAM TOUR, Smith has been impressing audiences with his high energy live show.  Saturday night, Nate made a statement, with the live performance taking his hit singles to another level.  From “Whiskey on You” and “World on Fire” to his cover of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”, each tune on the setlist showcased Smith’s gritty and soulful approach to singing and songwriting.  Powerful, gruff vocals and heavy-hitting guitar riffs headlined his rocking set of chart-climbing releases.  Wearing a Pirates’ hat and a Jerome Bettis Steelers jersey, Smith knew exactly how to engage the crowd from start to finish.

Warner Music Nashville’s Avery Anna opened the show with a song set, featuring tunes from her 2022 debut project, ‘Mood Swings’.  Midway through her 30-minute set on Saturday, the talented songstress stepped to the keyboard for a solo performance of Taylor Swift’s “Love Story”, which brought the early-arriving audience to its feet.  Quickly making a name for herself as a gifted poetic writer and beautiful vocalist, Avery swooned her way through the viral hit “Self Love” as well as her latest single “Worst In Me”.  The Arizona native has been on the road with BRELAND and Jordan Davis earlier this year, and is continuing to formally introduce herself to the wider country music audience now on the TWELVE TOUR.  For those who had not heard her music prior to Saturday, she left a first impression that will not soon be forgotten.


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