The fans came out en masse to see Guns N’ Roses performing at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium. 60,000 fans showed up, all clothed in their black T-shirts and eager to rock, to see the classic Guns N’ Roses lineup of Axl Rose, Slash and Duff McKagen. There was something a little bit special about this show however – something that raised a lot of eyebrows when it was first reported last month: Chris Stapleton, the rapidly rising country star, was performing the opening act.
Now, the immediate question is just how do you mix that classical Guns N’ Roses rock with the smooth country of Chris Stapleton? The pairing is, at first, a bit bizarre. How do you reconcile a Guns N’ Roses audience, hungry for the explosive energy of “Appetite for Destruction,” to the soulful classic country/folk singer who’s been sweeping up country awards left, right and center?
Quite easily, it turns out. Stapleton not only warmed up the expectant crowd, he rocked their worlds!
We’ve seen Stapleton perform live a number of times, and we’ve seen almost all of his broadcast performances. Having said that, we could say with a full guarantee that this had been the performance of a lifetime. Playing songs like “Fire Away,” “Tennessee Whiskey” and “You Are My Sunshine,” Stapleton took to the Nissan Stadium stage like he belonged there and nowhere else. He was a hit with concertgoers, who arrived expecting to hear rock songs like “Welcome to the Jungle” and “Mr. Brownstone.”
And the best part about Stapleton’s performance? He was just being himself. He wasn’t trying to fit in with the Guns crowd or cater to their expectations. He didn’t change his style or any of his songs. Rather, he just went up on stage and did what he does best: perform. That was more than enough to make a lasting impression on the unsuspecting audience.
From the moment he went up on stage until the sun went down over Music City, Chris held the eyes – and the hearts – of the crowd. This is no mean task for an opening act, especially one that’s trying to warm up an audience excited to see the reunited Guns N’ Roses performing together again after almost 25 years apart.
Chris Stapleton will go back to Nashville for a special show at Ascend Amphitheater on Friday, Oct. 14 with special guest, Lee Ann Womack. Don’t be shocked if you see new fans sporting Guns N’ Roses shirts in the audience. They’ll just be bragging to the person next to them, saying “I saw this dude open for Guns N’ Roses back in the summer, and he blew me away.”