Chase Rice’s AM/PM Tour stopped at the Playstation Theater in Manhattan to perform an intimate show for his New York fans. He brought along special guests and good friends, Jon Nite and Chris DeStefano.
Nite and DeStefano performed their acoustic set side-by-side. Predominately, songwriters, the two spent their 45-minute set covering songs they’ve written for other artists. Luke Bryan’s “Kick the Dust Up”, Brett Eldredge’s “Don’t Ya”, Jake Owen’s “Beachin’”, Dan + Shay’s “From the Ground Up”, Dierks Bentley’s “Living” and many more chart-topping hits were performed for the boisterous crowd Friday night.
Nite has written fourteen top ten hits for artists including Bryan, Owen, Keith Urban, Darius Rucker, Cole Swindell among others. He picked up a few CMA and ACM awards along the way. He penned Swindell’s “Break Up in the End” which was nominated for Country Song of the Year at the 2019 Grammys. Nite also earned a CMA Triple Play honor, which he received for writing three number one hits in one calendar year. The three songs were Luke Bryan’s “Strip It Down”, Keith Urban’s “Break On Me” and A Thousand Horses’ “Smoke”
DeStefano is a Grammy-winning songwriter and has written number one hits for big-name artists including Luke Bryan, Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, and Carrie Underwood. He is also the dominant writer/producer for Chase Rice’s albums. DeStefano co-wrote seven songs on Ignite the Night and three on Lambs & Lions, including his number-one single “Eyes on You”. During his set, he began playing the chords of the song, which the audience reacted positively to. “If I played that song now, Chase would kill me,” he joked.
Rice came out on stage to “Lions”, the lead track off his most recent album. He followed that with “Do it Like This”, “Jack Daniels Showed Up” and “On Tonight”. He then confessed that he’s working on a new album and wrote a song three days ago that he was going to play for the audience. “A song that’s three days old is also three days old in my mind and I don’t know all the f***king words….there’s no better place to play it then in this city.” He then performed the new, upbeat song, co-written with DeStefano, titled “The City”. Somehow, the fans knew the song as many of them in the front row were singing along with him. Listen to an acoustic version on Instagram.
Rice’s personality and humor were showcased as he was interactive with the audience throughout the night and spoke to the fans like were his college football teammates. He was also very informative in letting the crowd know what was going on in his life and career. He explained that he considered sending another song off Lambs & Lions to radio but then ultimately decided to record a new album instead. “We’re going to slowly start putting stuff out…I don’t know how this is going to go but I do know one thing and there’s one song starting this next album and it’s this song right here.” He then performed his most recent release, “Lonely If You Are”.
“I heard a quote from a guy named Harlan Howard, who was one of the best songwriters of all time, they asked him what country music was to him…and his response was pretty simple; he said ‘three chords and the truth’,” he explained that that was the inspiration behind his top-25 hit.
He gave a shout-out to Jon Nite for the next song, “Gonna Wanna Tonight” because it was in the 1% of songs he didn’t write himself. “We’ll sing it one more time on that chorus to make sure Jon hears you; as loud as you can,” he demanded of the fans. I guess we weren’t loud enough because Rice responded with: “I’m not bullshitting you, you better be f***ing loud on this chorus.”
He slowed things down with a personal song in “Carolina Can”, a track all about his life growing up in Carolina. He followed that with “Ride”. For this song, Rice brought a couple on stage and separated them by sitting the girl on a high-top, center stage and taking the guy to his bar off stage. Rice sang the romantic chorus to the girl as the boyfriend watched him try to seduce his girlfriend from the side stage. This bit got a lot of laughs from the audience.
His next song was the one he was teasing all night; his number one song, “Eyes on You”. “Cruise”, the track Rice co-wrote with Florida Georgia Line, was next. During the song, he announced his band members, who sported more of a punk-rock look than a country look. They each got to play a snippet of a song of their choice that was unplanned, according to Rice. The two guitar players chose Blink 182’s “All the Small Things” and Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy”. The bassist began strumming the tune of “Wheels on the Bus” which the crowd loved but Rice did not. Rice made him pick another one so he played Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline”.
His epic finale got better when he rapped Nelly’s verse of “Cruise” which transitioned into “Ready Set Roll”. Before exiting the stage, Rice admitted playing Madison Square Garden is a dream of his and asked the fans to help him get there. Rice certainly has the talent, the personality and the passion for country music to make that dream a reality.
Rice’s tour is headed to his home state of North Carolina next weekend. For more dates, visit his website.
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