When “Cruise” first came out, it seemed as though Florida-Georgia Line could go one of two ways: Become a one hit wonder with this summer jam, or put out multiple country hits that keep fans on their feet. Luckily, they went down the second path. This dynamic duo of Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard have not only put out the songs that the fans want to hear, but they attach themselves to the right people. Touring with artists like Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, they connect with huge audiences at a rapid pace. Unfortunately, not everyone caught on right away. Although “Cruise” had massive success, it also had its critics. Some people really didn’t like how it was always on the radio, posted as a caption to a summer picture, or tweeted millions of times a day. Their rowdy image may have been a turnoff to some as well, but here in the Midwest, it was just what we wanted. They were playing county fairs and sold-out arenas. Personally, I loved “Cruise” and was all about how FGL wanted to make their mark by mixing it up in country music. I saw them open for Luke Bryan, and got goosebumps when the massive audience danced and sang to their song—and they were only the first opener!
It seemed as though every day I would flip on the local country station and there was an FGL already playing or getting ready to be played. They also have a very balanced cycle of singles, and seem to pick the right songs to put out next. Currently they have a new single, “Dirt”,from their second album, and it’s a step in the right direction. The pride behind each song is easy to relate to. Homebodies and party animals alike across the country are taking these songs to heart, and when a concert comes along, it’s amazing to see the people so into the artist.
When the Illinois State Fair announced that FGL was going to be one of the headlining acts at the grandstand, people went wild. When the tickets went on sale, it was sold out in days, which hasn’t happened in a good while. It was like an intense scavenger hunt trying to find tickets after the fact, but man, was it worth it. When I found out that my friend and I would get to attend, it was like Christmas came early. There was something about getting to spend a summer night in my hometown with this band that felt quite right. Little did I know that this would only be the beginning.
This past Sunday was the concert, and I can’t stop thinking about how it completely took over our town in all of the best ways. When the fair rolls around it does get busy, but this was a whole new level of chaos. The already one-way streets were stop and go, the lines were nuts, but in the end everyone was there for the same reason: a night with a band who knew how to throw a party. In the very beginning of the show, they cranked out their song “Round Here”, and I looked around to see every single person facing forward and singing at the top of their lungs. Country concerts are fun, sure, but this was unlike anything else I have seen. Brian and Tyler are constantly moving around on stage, having fun. Instead of costume changes, these guys spent the time shouting out to Springfield and reminding us that we were there to party. That’s exactly what it was: a giant party with thousands of people I might not know, but can still have a great time with.
Honestly, FGL goes into a special category of bands that are a must-see no matter what your stance on their genre is. This is a country duo that can do remixes with Nelly without looking like it’s a desperate cry for an audience. They take audiences of different roots and numbers and have their complete attention. If you ever get the chance to even catch one song live somewhere, take it. Florida-Georgia Line are an act you need to see.