By Claire Salinas
This year’s Bayou Country Superfest had a few kinks and didn’t draw a full stadium, but there was plenty of patriotism and fan dedication to make up for it.
“I was really shocked to see so many empty seats to be honest. Maybe people were afraid of the rain,” said Marci Gaines, a graduate student at St. Mary’s University of Minnesota from Montpelier, LA. “Regardless, I’m a huge fan of live music and really enjoyed the performances.”
Throughout the Memorial Day weekend, the appropriate nods were given to soldiers with everything from an acknowledgment by Lieutenant Governor Jay Dardenne of the Blue and Gold Star mothers planting 11,000 flags on the lawn of the state capitol to Brantley Gilbert riding into town with the Wounded Warrior Project. Gilbert rolled into Baton Rouge after making four stops from Houston to Baton Rouge on his motorcycle ride with WWP.
During his stop in Scott, La., Gilbert talked about how the project is important to him because he saw what a hard time one of his friends had when he came back from serving overseas. He explained his new tattoo of two guns that covers most of his back is “a tattoo [he] wanted for a long time.”
“I think it’s kind of self-explanatory,” said Gilbert. “I love country, freedom, guns and our military.”
Gilbert acknowledged he would be in Tiger Stadium with some big names in country this past Saturday. He fulfilled his promise, delivering a rowdy show and even bringing Cole Ford onstage with him to rap for a cover of, “Dirt Road Anthem.”
“Anytime we’re all in the same venue we’re going to try to burn it down,” said Gilbert.
He sported a blue T-shirt with ripped off sleeves, jeans and a tan cowboy hat as he opened up his set with “Reality.” There weren’t any gimmicks, aside from the intro video, just a man, his guitar and his band. Chesney seemed to be enjoying himself immensely as he reared his head back to laugh with what appeared to be an expression of pure joy at the end of “Summertime.”
He closed out the night with “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy,” and for Jennifer Ernst, a recent Southeastern nursing graduate from Mandeville, Chesney’s performance, “was just as [she] imagined him to be.”
“I’ve always wanted to see him live,” said Ernst.
The second night of the festival generally went off without a hitch until the threat of rain became clear. All the artists up to Kip Moore got through their sets only having to endure a few sprinkles. Kip Moore treated the crowd with covers of “The Middle,” by Jimmy Eat World, and Benny E. King’s “Stand By Me.”
Before launching into “Come and Get It,” Moore teased the women in the crowd to put down their phones for a few seconds, and even taking one female audience member’s phone hostage to give her a few moments of staring into his eyes as he sat in front of her, legs dangling from the stage.
By the time Miranda Lambert took the stage, it had begun to sprinkle sporadically and the rain was on its way. Lambert made it through about four songs before the rain became heavy enough to cause fans to retreat to the shelter of the concessions area of the stadium to wait out the rain. Lambert rocked out the rest of her set, until she was cut off due to the rain, but her husband, Blake Shelton’s show, was delayed for about an hour. When Shelton finally came on, most of the original crowd had made their way back into the stadium and Shelton gave a 90-minute heartfelt performance.
At the end of the night he complimented the crowd saying, “Listen, Baton Rouge, I’m gonna come back. Y’all can hang out.”