Chicago, IL received a big dose of country music as Luke Combs brought his 2023 World Tour to Soldier Field Stadium on Saturday Evening (May 6).
In preparation for the sold-out night, fans arrived several hours before the 5:45 PM start time to enjoy a pre-show performance from rising country stars Meghan Patrick, Channing Wilson, and Gabe Lee. These artists took the stage outside the venue as part of Combs’ Bootleggers Tailgate Party, presented by Nashville’s Whiskey Jam.
The crowd then began to flood the inside of the stadium, creating a sea of Luke Combs merch, flannels, cowboy boots and cowboy hats.
After hours of anticipation, it became clear that Combs was about to take the stage when a highlight reel appeared on the large screens, showcasing his long, and dedicated journey to stardom. Those in attendance rose to their feet, ready to see the country superstar make his grand entrance.
Colorful lights swept the venue while the drum beats rose and the cheers of excitement intensified, inviting Combs to make his way to the stage. Once he appeared in front of the fans wearing a Chicago Bears hat, the singer punted a solo cup full of beer into the audience to kick things off.
He began his nearly 30-song setlist with a roaring delivery of the stand-out, “Lovin’ On You” before moving into a mix of past and current fan favorites including “Hannah Ford Road,” “Cold As You,” and “One Number Away.”
During a previous stop in Nashville, TN, Combs announced that his heartfelt song, “Love You Anyway” was the winner of his fan-voted contest put in place to help him choose his next radio single. This tune also made its way into Combs’ Chicago setlist and earned the stamp of approval from fans for the sentimental storyline that caused loved ones to embrace each other as they took in every note. The experience was elevated when Flatland Calvary’s Wesley Hall joined Combs on stage to showcase his stunning skills as a fiddle player.
Combs went on to perform his 15th consecutive chart-topper, “Going, Going Gone,” and “See Me Now,” before sharing that prior to that night’s show, fans had the chance to vote on a song that they wanted to hear in the setlist. Between the three choices given, Combs and fans both learned in that moment that the result was “Houston, We Got a Problem” off his 2018 project, This One’s For You Too.
With a bright smile on his face, the singer went on to share the trip and the person that inspired this personal tune.
“When I wrote this song, it was probably 2016…I’m 33 years old so in 2016 I was 26 and I had never even been on an airplane until I was 25. I grew up in North Carolina and had been to probably four states until the time I moved to Nashville. My life changed a lot in a really short amount of time. One of the first places I went was Texas. Has anybody here ever been to Texas before,” he asked the audience who responded in screams of approval. “Man, I was just blown away, never seen anything like it and I loved it, to be honest with you.”
He continued, “While I was there though, I just kept feeling like something was missing. I had just met a girl a few weeks before that I knew was going to change my life. We got married a couple years ago, we have a 12-month-old son, we got another son on the way and I wrote this song as soon as I got home.”
Nearly halfway through the night, Combs was joined on stage by another one of his opening acts, Riley Green. Together, they made their way to the edge of the stage and interacted with the fans in the surrounding areas as they conducted an empowering delivery of “Does To Me.”
Fans instinctively began singing the lyrics right along with the country artists. This continued throughout the entirety of the night, even when the rain began to pour down into the open stadium. Despite the shift in weather, spirits remained high and the energy soared to new heights as Combs and fans both ignored the rain to sing along to a tune that has had such an impact on his life and career.
It’s nearly impossible to describe just how intoxicating it felt to hear Combs belt out the words to his award-winning, seven-week No. 1, “Beautiful Crazy,” as the rain poured down. Since it was his wife’s first night out in a while, Combs also encouraged the fans to sing “extra loud” so that she could experience the same powerful sentiment that he gets to witness each time he takes the stage.
“I remember the first time I played it for Nicole and I was so nervous that she was going to think I was weird cause I had only known her for like two weeks and I was writing her this love song, but it ended up working out,” he shared before adding, “I sure would love y’all to sing this one extra loud for her. This is the song that started it all for us.”
Over the course of two hours, the North Carolina native showcased his undeniable talent, playing various tracks that spanned from his debut album all the way to his latest collections, Growin’ Up and Getting’ Old.
After performing “Beer Never Broke My Heart” and taking a moment to soak up the magnitude of the crowd who paid their hard-earned money to see him, Combs said “goodnight” to his Chicago audience.
However, the night wasn’t over yet. After a bit of encouragement from fans, Combs returned to the stage wearing a Chicago Bears jersey and officially closed out the show with “Better Together” and “The Kind Of Love We Make.” His final performance was a cover of Brooks & Dunn’s “Brand New Man,” and featured support from openers Brent Cobb, Cleto Cordero of Flatland Calvary, Lainey Wilson and Riley Green.
During his stop in Chicago, Combs further proved his status as a two-time CMA Entertainer of the Year winner as he took listeners on a musical journey of true country music and united thousands of fans in the process. He also made sure to take the time to introduce several of the stories behind his songs to give fans an inside look into his writing process and value he holds for his work.
This marked another sold-out show on Luke Combs’ record-breaking run, which kicked off March 25 in Arlington, TX, and features a total of 39 shows across 3 continents and 16 countries.
Riley Green, Lainey Wilson, Flatland Cavalry and Brent Cobb are currently serving as support on the North American tour dates, and once Combs heads to Australia and New Zealand, he will be joined by special guests Cody Johnson and Lane Pittman.