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Luke Combs brought his world tour to Edmonton alongside a hefty lineup of opening acts Saturday night. The high-energy evening at Commonwealth Stadium saw plenty of audience interaction, a marriage proposal mid-set and three encores from the country music star.
The audience really flared up around 9 p.m. as a roadie took to the stage for some last-minute checks. As the band set up, video footage of Combs combined with short interview clips with family was blasted across five large screens flanking the stage. Combs kicked off the headlining set with his honky-tonk hit, Lovin’ On You, to an audience quick to their feet. Couples could be seen swirling and two-stepping throughout the tipsy crowd.
The audio at Commonwealth was good, but it was hard to hear the performers talk due to the sheer volume of the crowd. The outdoor concert had a festival vibe, complete with muggy weather and girls in gauzy dresses, and the crowd was a sea of smiling faces.
The large stage screens set up on the south side of the field could be seen from any seat in the stadium and projected close-up shots of the band’s lap steel slide guitar creating the twang so typical of country music. The understated light show allowed the focus to stay on the performers and music.
Combs sang about all the things expected from country singers: love, cold beer and some mythical golden era when things were better. Throughout the crowd, friends were swaying shoulder-to-shoulder and singing along with fists of beer in the air.
A couple songs into the set, Combs slowed it down with the heart-sick ballad, One Number Away. A flurry of activity in the crowd revealed a mid-show marriage proposal. And Combs eventually switched out his trademark trucker cap for an Edmonton Elks cap and the crowd erupted with approval.
The energy of the audience and performance stayed high as the sun set on the stadium. The band played a compilation of country favourites including David Lee Murphy’s Dust on the Bottle and Diamond Rio’s Meet in the Middle. Combs delivered his lovey hit, Beautiful Crazy and a sweet cover of Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, and a pair of fiddles were featured for the song, Five Leaf Clover.
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Combs also brought his hits She Got the Best of Me, Hurricane and 1, 2 Many. At one point, Combs asked the crowd to have a beer with him and staff arrived on stage, handing out cans of beer to audience members up front so they could shotgun a beer with Combs, who downed his in impressive time.
The last song of Combs’ official set was the hard-driving honky-tonk number, Beer Never Broke My Heart. After a brief break, the band returned to the stage to play three encores. Several of the opening acts joined Combs’ band for a spirited rendition of Brand New Man by Brooks & Dunn. For more than 10 minutes during the extended, instrumental outro for the song, Combs autographed items from the audience.
Combs’ two-hour set wrapped a long evening of music that started shortly before 6 p.m. with singer-songwriter Brent Cobb followed by the Americana ensemble Flatland Cavalry, and then bell-bottomed songstress Lainey Wilson. Wilson was fresh off a stint acting on the popular TV series Yellowstone and recording a song with Dolly Parton. Her new album, Bell Bottom Country, was released in October.
Wrapping up the opening acts was neo-traditional country heartthrob, Riley Green. The singer-songwriter was awarded new male artist of the year in 2019 by the Academy of Country Music. People in the audience could be seen crying while Green played his nostalgic hit, I Wish Grandpas Never Died.
With roughly 56,000 fans in attendance, this was the largest concert at Commonwealth since Garth Brooks played the stadium in 2022. The concert was attended by fans from across the country as Edmonton and Vancouver are the only Canadian stops on Comb’s 2023 world tour.
Luke Combs with Riley Green, Lainey Wilson, Flatland Cavalry and Brent Cobb
Where Commonwealth Stadium
When June 3