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2018 Country Thunder pulls out all the stops

Country Thunder 2018 Days 3 & 4
Florence, AZ
April 7 & 8, 2018



Runaway June
Runaway June
Michael Tyler
Michael Tyler
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan


Review & Photos by Francis Sealy

The patriotism continued on day three as Tobey Keith kept the tradition going. He performed the songs "American Soldier' and "Courtesy of the Red, White, & Blue." He also kept the songs about beer going as well with "Beer For My Horses," "Red Solo Cup," and "Beers Ago." "Beer For my Horses" featured a guest appearance with Willie Nelson via a prerecorded video.

The entire set was a crowd pleaser from start to finish even though there were some Keith pitch problems. The hits went back to Keith's 1993 breakthrough album that included "A Little Less Talk and a Lot More Action," and "Should Have Been a Cowboy." Let's not forget "Wacky Tobaccy" the show opener as a fan favorite.

As good as the nostalgia seemed with Keith's performance, Big & Rich performed a raucous, rebel rousing set. The patriotism continued with a performance of "God Bless America." The military was further saluted with "8th of November." They had a few serious moments with "Holy Water" and "Lost in the Moment."

Their latest album, I Did It For the Party, was well represented in more ways than one. They surprised the fans with an appearance of Cowboy Troy rapping through "I Play Chicken With the Train." The cover songs included "American Pie," "Hit Me With Your Best Shot," and "Cake By the Ocean." They finished with "Rollin' (The Ballad of Big & Rich)" with Big Kenny giving the crowd an electrical shot of energy.

Earlier in the day, Michael Ray delighted the fans with some new and old tunes that included his big hits "Kiss You In the Morning" and "Think a Little Less." His deep voice and his drop-dead, good looks, and great stage presence were mesmerizing. Other songs included "Real Men Love Jesus" and "Cold as You."

Runaway June made a repeat appearance at CT. The trio of lovely ladies, Naomi Cooke, Jennifer Wayne, and Hannah Mulholland, surpassed their performance from last year. They were only one of a few female entertainers gracing the big stage this year. Songs included in the set were "Train Whistle," "Somebody Like You, " and "Wild West." "Wild West" was inspired by movie icon John Wayne who is the grandfather of one of the trio's singers, Jennifer Wayne.

The last day of CT was headlined by Luke Bryan. This was a return engagement for the American Idol superstar. It seems that television is the perfect vehicle to launch a singer's popularity to the stratosphere. Bryan takes it all in stride and his show was strikingly similar to his previous appearance at CT as he caught a can of beer tossed by a fan in the crowd.

The set started with "Light It Up," Someone Else Is Calling You Baby," and "Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye." He mentioned, "Good Lord It's dry here. How do you stand it? You have got to be tough as hell to live here. What do your ‘boogers' look like? What color are they?" He's a true country boy at heart.

He had some difficulty finishing "Strip It Down" blaming the desert air and giving it another try. He commented "I'm the one judging voices. How about that? Thank ya'll for cuttin' me some slack."

There was an acoustic segment in the set with "I Do," "Home Alone Tonight," and "Fast." This was a very well rounded set giving fans everything they wanted. It was the best set of the second two days of CT.

Singer/songwriter Michael Tyler started the day with songs from his album, 317. Tyler is another artist who has crossed over from writing hit songs for Jason Aldean, Locash, and Dierks Bentley to establishing himself as an entertainer in his own right. Mentored by Aldean's producer, Michael Knox, since he was 12 years old, Tyler is a very accomplished singer/songwriter. Songs played included his new single, "Hey Mama," "They Can't See," "Jack and Diane," and Maroon5's "This Love."

Lindsey Ell gave a private mini acoustic set in the KMLE casino tent prior to her official set on the large stage. In either mode, Ell is a winner. Randy Bachman discovered the gifted Canadian singer/songwriter and ace guitarist at the age of 15. You may remember Bachman from The Guess Who. Her set on the big stage had several guitar duels with her band mates. Songs included "Come Together," "Criminal," and "Sweet Child O' Mine." Ell is a star on the rise.

Brett Young was the act prior to Bryan and he will be a CT headliner before too long. He has had a string of country hits that he performed that included "Like I Loved You," "In Case You Didn't Know," and "Sleep Without You." Young is another newbie with charisma, good looks, and a knack for great song writing.

Country Thunder is all about making new talent superstars. There were many aspiring superstars from which to choose. This year's CT had many that we are sure you will see again. Check out upcoming CT's for lineup, location, and dates here.

For everything Country Thunder visit www.countrythunder.com.

Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Luke Bryan
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Lindsey Ell
Michael Tyler
Michael Tyler
Michael Tyler
Michael Tyler
Runaway June
Runaway June
Runaway June
Runaway June
Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen
Morgan Wallen
Brett Young
Brett Young
Brett Young
Brett Young
Michael Ray
Michael Ray
Michael Ray
Michael Ray
Michael Ray
Michael Ray
Michael Ray
Michael Ray

Back to Country Thunder Arizona 2018 Days 1 & 2

Related articles (Country Thunder - Twin Lakes, WI & Florence, AZ):

Country Thunder Arizona 2017
Country Thunder Arizona 2016
Country Thunder Arizona 2015
Country Thunder 2016
Country Thunder 2015
Country Thunder 2014
Country Thunder 2013
Country Thunder 2012
Country Thunder 2011
Country Thunder 2010
Country Thunder 2009
Country Thunder 2008
Country Thunder 2007
Country Thunder 2006
Country Thunder 2005
Country Thunder 2004
Country Thunder 2003
Country Thunder 2002
Country Thunder 2001

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