On Thursday night, the folks of Kalamazoo got to witness American Idol winner Scotty McCreery bring the country to their theatre.

In May of 2011, people across the U.S. voted the then 17-year-old Scotty McCreery from Garner, North Carolina as the season 10 winner of Fox TV’s American Idol. Since winning American Idol, Scotty (now 22) has been busy with life as a college kid by attending North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina. There he is pursuing a bachelor’s degree in communications.

Along with furthering his education, he is also writing, recording music, and touring. Scotty just wrapped up a tour being on the road with Rascal Flatts. He is now focused on his headlining shows, a release of his new book, Go Big Or Go Home, and a new album release. On this evening, though, Scotty was only focusing on his show here at the Kalamazoo State Theatre in front of a near capacity crowd.

The show started with former Michigan native, Kari Lynch, taking the stage to a warm welcome from the crowd as she high stepped and danced in place behind her microphone. As she played her short 10-song set, the crowd’s reaction was evident that they approved of her performance.

Being from Western Michigan before moving to Nashville in September of 2015, Kari had built a strong fan following here as they have watched her grow as an entertainer. The crowd cheered her as she made a comment, “I may live in Nashville now, but I will always call Michigan home.”

The crowd also showed their love to Kari as she grabbed her guitar and started to play her popular hit, “Me And A Bottle Of Wine.” They continued to stand and sing along as Kari played Johnny Cash’s hit, “Ring Of Fire.”

Before Kari ended her show, she gave a preview of her upcoming album (due in the early spring) with the song, “Sweetheart.” At the conclusion of Kari’s performance, the crowd gave the band a standing ovation.

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With the crowd already on their feet, Scotty came to the stage with a thunderous applause as he started the show with “Now” from his See You Tonight album released in 2013 on Mercury Nashville.

During Scotty’s performance on stage, he showed his energy by bouncing and skip dancing from one side of the stage to the other as he sang and made eye contact with everyone in the front rows. He sang songs from his two current albums, Clear As Day (2011) and See You Tonight (2013) along with his current single, “Southern Bell” from his upcoming album to be released later this summer.

Along with his material, he added a few of his personal favorites from others. He joked about growing up with an older sister and listening to the likes of N’SYNC, Boys To Men, and others. However, he was graciously taken care of by his grandparents, as well as his parents, and listened to what are now a few of his favorites, like Johnny Cash and Merle Haggard. Covers included were “King Of The Road” by Roger Miller, “Mama Tried” by Merle Haggard, “Folsom Prison Blues” by Johnny Cash, “Chattahoochee” by Alan Jackson, and “Mountain Music” by Alabama.

The emotional moment in the show came when Scotty slowed it down for a moment to talk to the crowd, as he sat on a stool to pay tribute to the military and those who made the ultimate sacrifice. He told a story of their bass player whose cousin left to go overseas to fight in the war. As he was over there, his wife had given birth to their child. Due to the war, the child is now going to grow up without his father. The reason for the story was to talk about the legacy we leave for others to remember us. Thus, the writing of the song, “The Dash,” that is found on Scotty’s second album, See You Tonight.

As Scotty’s show progressed along, it was becoming evident that he was generous to all and not all wrapped up in his own ego. Many times through the show, he would jokingly play with the guys in his band by shoulder bumps or even a tap on the shoulder as he walked past them. He even took a step back when not singing to allow the musicians on stage to come front and center to show off their musical talents.

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This concert was Scotty’s first full band stage show of 2016. He talked about in the past he has played all the States except Alaska and joked that Michigan was cold enough this evening that he didn’t want to go further North. One thing he did like about Michigan was the girls. He told the guys in the audience they were lucky before playing his 2011 debut single, “The Trouble With Girls.”

As the show played on, the crowd showed their support for Scotty and the band by standing throughout and singing along to all of his songs. For “See You Tonight,” the crowd raised the bar by standing a little taller and waving their arms back and forth over their heads as they sang along.

As Scotty left the stage, he asked fans for a favor to him; “God Bless The Troops, and Keep It Country.”

Scotty McCreery
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Kari Lynch
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Kalamazoo State Theatre
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Scotty McCreery Setlist: Little Games Now, West Texas Ground, Nowhere Now, Nothing That A Shot Won’t Fix, Know What You Know, Me & A Bottle Of Wine, Ring Of Fire, One More Hit, Sweetheart, Sapphire Blues, The Trouble With Girls, Oldies Medley, You Make That Look Good, Walk In The Country, Buzzin’, See You Tonight, Feel Good Summer Song

Kari Lynch Setlist: Water Tower Town, Whiplash, I Love You This Big, Out Of Summertime, Southern Bell, This Is That Night, Can Feel It, I Like It, I Love It, The Dash

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