Country superstar band Little Big Town kicked off its headlining U.S. tour, “The Breakers,” on a strong note. The band was joined with opening acts Kacey Musgraves and new country music group Midland. The concert took place Feb. 16 at Allstate Arena (6920 N. Mannheim Road) in the evening.
Midland added an enthusiastic and authentic Texas country set to the start of the show by playing its radio hit, “Drinkin’ Problem.” The group rose to fame in 2016 after signing with music label, Big Machine, but gained a bigger audience in 2017 after joining Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s tour as an opening act.
Midland’s performance of its upbeat “Make a Little” warmed up the crowd for the main act.
The set change between Midland and Musgraves added diversity to the tour with Musgraves’ transition from cheerful Texas country music to a country “Lana Del Rey” sound.
Musgraves, known for her biggest hits “Follow Your Arrow,” and “Merry Go ‘Round,” slowed the show down, allowing the audience to relax and enjoy some country ballads before Little Big Town took the stage. Musgraves featured two of her new songs, “Space Cowboy” and “Wonder Woman” from her newest album, “Golden Hour.”
Starting off the Chicago concert with two hits from the band’s newest album, “Happy People” and “Drivin’ Around,” in addition to one of its biggest hits, “Pontoon,” Little Big Town got the crowd roaring early.
After performing some well-known songs and a few newbies, the four vocalists, Karen Fairchild, Kimberly Schlapman, Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet, made their way through the crowd while performing “Little White Church,” to a smaller rotating stage where they played acoustic four-part harmonies.
Vocalizing angelic harmonies left the audience mesmerized at the spirit and energy of the performance.
“We’re taking you guys back to our living room, right where it all began,” Fairchild said. “Back when it was just us four and a guitar.”
Slowing things down a bit on the small stage, Little Big Town sang a cover of the song, “Wichita Lineman,” in tribute to Glen Campbell, who passed away last August due to Alzheimer’s disease. The band also played a few country classics, including Country Music Hall of Fame member Don Williams’ 1982 single, “Lord, I Hope This Day is Good”.
As part of an acoustic portion, Little Big Town sang two of its most famous hits, “Your Side of the Bed” and “Sober,” inspiring numerous fans to make phone lights glow around the stage. It helped create a sense of community and connection.
After heading back to the main stage, Little Big Town performed “I’m With the Band,” which harkens back to the group’s beginning. The song was followed by a few more songs from “The Breaker,” including “Lost in California.”
Fans were especially hyped up when the band played an all-time favorite, “Day Drinking” holding their drinks up in celebration.
The band sounded even more alive and energetic in person than anything the radio hits provide with harmonious melodies in the encore of one of their first singles, “Boondocks.” Its final song featured moments of solo and improvisation from Fairchild, Sweet, Schlapman and Westbrook, while also coming together as a band to perform in perfect unison before a hand-holding shared bow to conclude the concert.
Little Big Town’s newest album, “The Breaker” is available for download on iTunes, or online through Amazon or at Best Buy. It can also be streamed through Spotify.