Radford University’s country fans came out to the Dedmon Center on March 27 to see Gloriana, Dustin Lynch and Brent Rupard. Students were decked out in cowboy hats and boots, silver belt buckles and flannel shirts, dancing and singing along with popular country songs.
The night got off to a slow start with Brent Rupard’s set. He was obviously not as well known as the other two artists, although his music was catchy enough.
Although there wasn’t a huge overall turnout (let’s face it, country concerts belong at an outdoor venue), when Dustin Lynch came on he didn’t let the small size of the crowd deter him from putting on a great show. He covered the popular country song “Wagon Wheel” to the crowd’s excitement, but that wasn’t his most interesting or surprising cover of the night.
Many concert-goers were confused when Lynch started singing Justin Timberlake, but their confusion soon turned to acceptance and they sang along as Lynch rapped in his thick country accent. Although Lynch definitely doesn’t have a rap career in his future, the covers were a nice change of pace and gave students a laugh. He even popped down into the crowd to interact with fans more personally.
To the joy of many RU students, Lynch repeatedly asked “Where’s the afterparty?” which generated copious discussions of who was partying afterward and if Lynch would be there. Lynch even drank a cup of booze (although some question whether there was actually alcohol in the cup, considering RU’s dry campus policy) by placing it on his bicep and using his large arm muscle to lift the cup to his mouth. The girls in the crowd all shrieked with joy.
Before Lynch got off stage, he invited a student named Peter to help him sing the last verse of one of his popular songs. Peter belted the lyrics with such enthusiasm that Lynch let him finish off the rest of the song. Both Peter’s and Lynch’s performances were ones to surely be remembered by country fans and non-country fans alike.
Many students were surprised that Gloriana was the headliner of the show, as their songs are somewhat less known than Lynch’s popular tunes. To clarify, Gloriana is the name of the band, not the name of their gorgeous singer and front woman Rachel Reinert. Along with the Gossin brothers, Gloriana has been gaining popularity since 2008, and many RU students could see why.
Although quite a few students cleared out after Lynch’s set, those who stayed to see Gloriana were sure glad they did. These die-hard country fans sang along to both covers and originals. Gloriana’s music is somewhat slower and has more of an acoustic feel, but they mixed both new and old music to show fans exactly what this trio is capable of.
If you liked country music, this was one show you sure didn’t want to miss. Hopefully in the future R-SPaCE will figure out how to put on country shows outside, but since Dustin Lynch and Gloriana didn’t seem to have a problem with the venue, neither did the students.