Grand Rapids, MI (Aug. 10, 2018) – Sugarland Frankie Ballard Lindsay Ell Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
Six years ago, they announced they were taking a break from being the duo super group Sugarland in order to focus on their own solo projects. Now in 2018, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have reunited to take over the main stage together again as a duo act.
They are returning and bringing all kinds of excitement with them for their fans. Included is a new album Bigger, a new single “Babe” along with a new tour Still The Same Tour 2018 that will take them cross country throughout the summer of 2018. For their stop in Grand Rapids, MI at the Van Andel Arena, they bring along Michigan’s own Frankie Ballard and Lindsay Ell.
With a showcase of guitar licks, Lindsay opens the evenings entertainment performing songs from her #1 debut album The Project. The album is a work of artistry by Lindsay and produced by Kristian Bush.
Coming to the stage with “Wildfire,” Lindsay never lets up with her exploding energy as she captures your attention to her guitar prowess. In her short five song set, she includes her upcoming single “Champagne” before dropping to her knees for a crowd pleasing guitar solo in her current Top 20 single “Criminal.”
Frankie Ballard takes the stage next as he pumps up the crowd with his 2015 #1 hit “Young & Crazy.”
Growing up approximately 70 miles south of Grand Rapids in Battle Creek, MI, Frankie along with his right hand man and lead guitarist Eddie Robinson are having fun tonight playing in front of many friends and family in the near to hometown venue. Frankie recalls playing the smaller concert lounge The Intersection behind the arena numerous times in the past hoping to someday being able to play inside the Van Andel Arena. He gives credit to the lounge as being where he got his big break 10 years ago winning a competition to perform before Kenny Chesney in Detroit at Ford Field. He also states “It All Started With A Beer.”
Being on tour with Sugarland has allowed Frankie to team up with Kristian and do some songwriting on the road. In order to perform on one of the songs they collaborated on, Frankie gets the women in the crowd worked up by removing his jacket before performing their song “Better Man.”
Being back home playing in front of so many familiar faces, Frankie admits that it is a “Helluva Life.”
In 2011, Frankie received a phone call he’ll never forget, to go on tour with Bob Seger. It was such an honor to play before him every night, that he added Bob’s “You’ll Accomp’ny Me” to his current El Rio album and his current concert setlists.
Before calling it a night, Frankie ends his set with his second #1 single “Sunshine & Whiskey” and a Tom Jones cover “Delilah.”
The time has finally come for what most in the crowd have waited for, the return of Sugarland. As the lights come up and the music starts, the curtain falls to expose the band stretched across the stage with Jennifer and Kristian standing along the back center of the stage with gleaming smiles to welcome the crowd.
Inside the circus themed stage, Sugarland opens the show with their title track to their new piece of art “Bigger” as the crowd cheers them on as Jennifer strolls the stage smiling and waving to all in front of the stage while Kristian stands at center stage playing his guitar.
Continuing on, they perform some of their big hits from their early years 2006 – 2010 including “All I Want To Do,” “Stuck Like Glue,” “Want To” and “Already Gone.” During “Stuck Like Glue,” the song fits as Jennifer and Kristian appear to have not lost the magic that the duo had before the break. With smiles and childish faces made back and forth between the two make it obvious they are where they are supposed to be at this time, making music and memories together.
Throughout the show, Jennifer sneaks off stage to changed her pull over tops to others to keep her wardrobe fresh and up to date with the mood and flow of the show.
Being partnered with World Vision on this tour, they set out to help children live with food, education and hope. They have set a goal of helping 2000 children on this tour. Some of the generous fans who donated this evening were selected to come on stage with Sugarland and win a photo with them.
“Tony” is a Patty Griffin cover and a comforting song about a gay teen suicide. Showing support to the LGBTQ community, they provide messages of hope on the video screens up on stage.
To show that Kristian and Jennifer were actually working during their break, they perform songs from their solo albums. While Jennifer leaves, Kristian jokes about why everyone wants to die rich claiming that he has never seen a hearse pulling a trailer. He then continues with “Trailer Hitch.”
Jennifer returns to the stage to perform her solo of “Unlove You.”
Adding a bit of a mix to the show, Jennifer and Kristian have some fun by throwing in a medley of hits with “On A Roll,” “We Want The Funk,” “Billie Jean” and “Express Yourself.” Joining in on the fun, Sugarland is joined on stage by dancing Star Wars characters Princess Leia, R2D2, Darth Vader and numerous Storm Troopers.
“Babe” is the current single out now as it features Taylor Swift in the studio version on the new Bigger album.
Continuing out the show, Sugarland performs their top five singles “It Happens,” the emotionally charged “Stay,” “Baby Girl” and “Something More” before disappearing off stage to deafening applause from the crowd inside the venue.
During the encore, Sugarland performs “Not The Only” while Jennifer starts with a light globe that splits one light into two lights and on. Each light gets passed on to other members on stage to help spread the message that everyone counts.
To wrap up the night’s performance, Sugarland is joined back up on stage by Frankie Ballard, Lindsay Ell and all the Star Wars personalities for Princes’ cover of “Let’s Go Crazy.”
During the six year absence of Sugarland, the fans didn’t leave them behind as they came out in flocks this evening to join them in Grand Rapids. Although it is still early on in their return, it has become obvious of the chemistry between them that they are meant to be together on stage.
Follow along with the links below to be able to catch a show when they return to your area.
Van Andel Arena