Tim Kubick / For The Lantern
Country artist Trace Adkins waded onto a dimly-lit stage at the Lifestyle Communities Pavilion Thursday night with his jeans flared over pointed leather boots and his face barely visible underneath a black cowboy hat. When the spotlight reached him, he threw his head back and flexed his arms like Tarzan about to beat his chest, kicking off a nearly two hour performance.
Twenty-two hundred Ohio State students, many of them clad in flannel and donning their own hats and boots, attended the concert, which was sponsored by the Ohio Union Activities Board. Tickets were free to students with a valid Buck ID.
Country singer Stefani Reeder opened the show with a half-hour set. Accompanied by two guitarists and a drummer, Reeder played original songs and one cover song, Demi Lovato’s “Give Your Heart a Break.”
Adkins took the stage around 8:45 p.m., accompanied by a keyboardist, drummer and three guitarists. He played a slew of hits, including “Ladies Love Country Boys,” “This Ain’t No Love Song,” “Marry For Money” and some attendees’ sentimental favorite “You’re Gonna Miss This.”
“I don’t do many love songs, but here’s another,” Adkins said in his deep country drawl before launching into crowd favorite “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”
The venue seemed to be filled to capacity, and most of the crowd was on its feet for the entire duration of the show, singing along and cheering on Adkins’ dancing.
Blue and red lights illuminated the stage when Adkins sang “Semper Fi,” a tribute to U.S. Marines, prompting loud chants of “USA” from the crowd.
Before performing his penultimate song, “Tough People,” which he said will be on his next album, Adkins spoke to the crowd about being strong in difficult times.
“We can make it through this,” Adkins said. “Sometimes people take the tough times to do something noble and do something good. And that’s who this song’s for – the tough people of America.”
After the song, Adkins told the crowd there were video cameras set up around the venue to shoot a music video for “Tough People.”
“So we’re gonna play it again,” Adkins said before launching into the anthem a second time, to the delight of the crowd.
“It was breathtaking and it touched everyone’s hearts, especially the last song he sang about being tough,” said Alyssa Swinehart, a fourth-year in agricultural communication. “Everyone’s been through tough times but he reminds you that you can be strong.”
Adkins closed the show with “Ride,” a song about touring and being on the road.
“We have to ride. Thank you so much,” Adkins said to the roaring crowd one last time before exiting the stage.
Rachel Norrison, a first-year in nursing, said as a country fan, she enjoyed the concert.
“I thought it was awesome and he really kept the crowd entertained,” Norrison said.”I live and breathe country, so I was so excited to get these tickets for free.”
Varun Ramanujam, concerts committee chair for OUAB and a fourth-year in strategic communication, said the event was a success.
“We’ve done things with (Lifestyle Communities Pavilion) in the past and have built a great relationship with them, so it was a great fit for this event,” Ramanujam said. “We had a great night. We’re happy it worked out.”