The Country Unplugged tour, featuring Joe Diffie, Lorrie Morgan, and Mark Chestnut, packed in fans for a sold-out show in Northern Michigan on Saturday night.

On Saturday night, the crowds congregate outside of the MAKWA ENDAAT Event Center, located inside the Little River Casino Resort, waiting for the doors to open.  The sign in front of the box office states that the evening’s show is sold-out of all 1,600 seats.

As people file into the event center, the lights dim low as the stage lit up revealing musicians in the background preparing for the evening’s event to get under way. The added players are made up of four acoustic guitarists and one on keyboards.

As Joe, Lorrie, and Mark take their places center stage, they are welcomed by a thunderous applause with people cheering and shouting.  They wave and thank the people out in the first few rows as the trio take their spots sitting on stools with the two gentlemen either side allowing Lorrie to sit in the center.

The group takes turns telling stories and joking with the each other with the music setlist made up of one alternating song choices from their respectful careers.  Between the three artists, they compile a sizeable musical library with 57 Top 10 hits, 26 No. 1 singles, nine platinum records, and mantles full of awards including various Grammy Awards, ACM Awards, and CMA Awards along with memberships in the Grand Old Opry.  Lorrie even made history by becoming a Lifelong Member at the young age of twenty-four.

When the show starts, Lorrie first apologizes to the crowd for having bronchitis and not being sure how she well she will perform this evening.  She immediately turns to Joe and blames him for giving her the sickness.  The crowd laughs as Joe flashes her a look of denial. He quickly speaks up about dealing with a severe back injury and explains he is scheduled to have surgery on March 08.  At this point, Mark and Lorrie both sigh; Lorrie welcomes the idea explaining that Joe regularly reminds those around him about it.

Singing hit songs throughout the show, Lorrie also introduces two new songs, “Slow” and “Ode To Billie Joe,” from her album, Letting Go… Slow, released this past February 12.

With each artist requesting each other for songs, Joe asks Mark to sing his hit cover of Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing.”  After a little grumbling by Mark, he obliges by singing it to the crowds approval.  When Mark finishes, Joe stands and walks over to Mark, giving him a fist pump and a kiss on the cheek for being a good sport.

Next, it was Joe’s turn as Lorrie and Mark request “If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets).” Joe complains how he hates this song and how his label made him record it, which ironically was a big hit for him.

As the tour is made up of Joe, Lorrie and Mark, the highlight of this evening’s show comes when Joe calls his daughter Kara to the stage. Kara, a singer herself, sings “Amazing Grace” acapella with her father joining in to sing harmony at the end. Her beautiful voice requires those on stage to pause to collect their composure before continuing.

Afterward, Lorrie calls her son, Jesse Keith Whitley out to sing a song. Jesse, the son of Lorrie and the late Keith Whitley, is on the road with his mother during this part of the tour. Jesse grabs his mother’s gold sparkle flaked guitar and sings one of his father’s hit songs, “I’m Over You,” much to the crowd’s liking.

Not to be left out, Mark comments that his son would have been here to sing with his father. . However, his son is in the military and had just graduated from boot camp last September.

The show concludes with Joe singing his hit song, “John Deere Green,” as the crowd jump to their feet and sing along.  As the song ends, Joe, Lorrie, and Mark take the time to shake hands with fans before departing.

The show is a complete success as the sold out crowd leaves the event center feeling satisfied from the entertaining evening with three Country Music Hall of Fame superstars.

There are no complaints with Mark’s vocal ability.  His voice sounds just as robust as the day he recorded his hits.

Lorrie claimed to be fighting bronchitis at show time, but never once showed any weakness in her vocal abilities, her voice pure and strong.

Unfortunately for Joe, his discomfort was evident throughout the show as he struggled to get comfortable.  The pain is visible on his face and in his eyes.  But like a true artist and professional, he does not let his fans down and sings with every bit of soul he can muster and jokes as if there was nothing wrong.

Joe Diffie
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Lorrie Morgan
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Mark Chesnutt
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Jesse Keith Whitley
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Little River Casino Resort
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The Country Unplugged Tour setlist:

  1. Lorrie Morgan – Watch Me
  2. Mark Chesnutt – It’s A Little Too Late
  3. Joe Diffie – Third Rock From The Sun
  4. Lorrie Morgan – A Picture Of Me (Without You)
  5. Mark Chesnutt – Rollin’ With The Flow
  6. Joe Diffie – Pickup Man
  7. Lorrie Morgan – Good As I Was To You
  8. Lorrie Morgan – Slow
  9. Mark Chesnutt – I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing
  10. Joe Diffie – If The Devil Danced (In Empty Pockets)
  11. Lorrie Morgan – I Guess You Had To Be There
  12. Mark Chesnutt – Bubba Shot The JukeBox
  13. Kara Diffie and Joe – Amazing Grace
  14. Mark Chesnutt – Brother Jukebox
  15. Jesse Keith Whitley – I’m Over You
  16. Joe Diffie – Prop Me Up Beside The Jukebox (If I Die)
  17. Mark Chesnutt – Too Cold At Home
  18. Lorrie Morgan – Ode To Billie Joe
  19. Joe Diffie – John Deere Green