Florida Georgia Line's Iowa State Fair concert cut short due to weather
Country duo Florida Georgia Line celebrated their hit collaborations with the Backstreet Boys and Bebe Rexha during the Country Music Association Festival. (June 12) AP
Anything goes at a Florida Georgia Line show.
A few pop songs? Yes. Mix in some country? Sure. Throw in an arena-ready stage setup and some pyrotechnics? Of course.
And ... play for an hour? That's the case in Des Moines.
Top-charting country pop duo Florida Georgia Line closed down the Iowa State Fair Grandstand on Sunday night, playing an hourlong set the band's publicist said was condensed because of "weather and expected lightning."
A total 11,817 attended the concert, paying $70 to $80 before fees and gate admission to get into the Grandstand, the fair's highest ticket price this year.
The 15-song Iowa State Fair set comes as the duo — Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley — rides a wave of crossover pop success, thanks to the No. 2 Billboard Hot 100 charting Bebe Rexha collaboration "Meant To Be."
Florida Georgia Line last appeared in Iowa's capital city in 2016, a headlining show at Wells Fargo Arena. The group played its first Grandstand headlining show in 2014.
May we all ... entertain: What fans did see during the band's hour was an anticipated high dose of country pop entertainment.
The group entered to 2014's "Anything Goes," flanked by a five-piece band and flames ready to blast off with each chorus. They've got 13 No. 1 Billboard country airplay hits and they stuck to playing all but two during the shortened set ("Confessions" and "Stay").
Through "Round Here," "Meant To Be" and "Dirt," the group dished out a smaller-than-usual serving of its polarizing is-it-country-or-is-it-pop music. Lines blur deeper as Hubbard gets behind the piano for the ballad "H.O.L.Y." and again when the band rolls out a stand-up bass for the group's take on folk country during "Simple."
Country, pop, a folk chorus, a hip-hop verse ... it all came backed by a production that blasted flames into the air while the duo's music videos played on a screen behind the band.
Get your hour on: If Florida Georgia Line planned to bring the same show as earlier summer tour stops in Milwaukee and St. Louis, Sunday night rain caused fans in Iowa to lose about a half-hour of music. The group's played about 19 songs a night this summer.
Safety should always come first, but — given rain stopped during the encore and it was dry enough for the fair to shoot post-show fireworks — the duo could've made an on-stage call to extend the set.
Florida Georgia Line isn't working with decades of material; it shouldn't be expected for the group to go on a three-hour 40-song binge, especially with Midwest weather at play. But making that in-the-moment decision to add an extra song or two, and being candid about it, may have created an unforgettable moment for the audience — no matter the set length.
Instead, some left disgruntled, understandably wanting more music.
Still, rain or not, as the band returned to perform an encore featuring "This Is How We Roll" and "Cruise," many audience members raised beers, danced and cheered wildly to their favorite country radio songs.
Maybe, if fans still aren't too upset, they'll make up that half-hour next time. And, yes, if the hits keep coming, there's sure to be a next time.
Florida Georgia Line set list
- Anything Goes
- Round Here
- May We All
- Meant To Be
- God, Your Mama, and Me
- Sun Daze
- Get Your Shine On
- This Is How We Roll
- Up Down
2018 Grandstand attendance
Aug. 9: 6,151 for Casting Crowns
Aug. 10: 14,102 for Reba McEntire
Aug. 11: 4,540 for Daughtry
Aug. 12: 7,738 for Old Dominion
Aug. 13: 2,997 for Papa Roach
Aug. 14: 5,934 for Jim Gaffigan
Aug. 15: 15,775 for Thomas Rhett
Aug. 16: 6,459 for Earth, Wind & Fire
Aug. 17: 8,311 for Sugarland
Aug. 18: 5,734 for Peter Cetera
Aug. 19: 11,817 for Florida Georgia Line