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For Lady A, Rucker, music proves as perfect as the weather

Fivepoint Amphitheatre, Irvine, Cal., August 24, 2018

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

Lady Antebellum headlined a double bill with Darius Rucker (including help from opener Russell Dickerson) for the "Summer Plays on Tour" on a perfectly beautiful Southern California night. Each artist pretty much stuck to all-hits sets, which - with all the accumulated hits between each - was perfectly fine with this audience.

Lady Antebellum opened with "You Look Good" and closed with "We Own the Night." In between, they found room for many of the best singles, like "Heart Break," "American Honey," "Just a Kiss" and the party plea, "Downtown."

As a bonus, the trio performed a believable cover of The Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." The lone female on the bill, Hillary Scott, oftentimes encouraged the audience to sing along, especially during "American Honey." The group brought back Rucker to sing Hootie & the Blowfish's "Hold My Hand," and Dickerson to duet with Scott for a cover of Deaba Carter's timeless "Strawberry Wine."

Rucker preceded Lady Antebellum wearing a ballcap and a Chic/Nile Rodgers tour shirt. He, too, included quite a few Hootie songs, including "Let Her Cry" and "Only Wanna Be with You." However, his best selections were mostly post-Hootie tunes. These included the vulnerable "If I Told You" and the libertine "For the First Time." Rucker closed with "Wagon Wheel," which was a wonderful, traditionally-instrumented way to finish a set.

Dickerson kicked off the evening with an energetic set that included hits like "Blue Tacoma" and "Yours." Although his set was the least country-oriented of the night, Dickerson looked and sounded much better than he did when opening for Florida Georgia Line awhile back. He has a strong singing voice and exuded far more confidence than previously. Now, if he could also incorporate at least a little twang.

With two quality acts at the top of the bill, it was nearly impossible for this concert to fail. As it turns out, the music was just as perfect as the weather.