Country Thunder Arizona 2022 concert review

Morgan Wallen was supposed to headline last year’s Country Thunder Arizona festival.

Then video surfaced of the rising country star shouting the N-word and other profanity at a car full of friends outside his Nashville home after a long night of drinking.

The reaction was swift and escalated rapidly, derailing the singer’s career, however briefly, as he entered rehab and stepped away from touring and the country music spotlight to reflect.

This Country Thunder date is one of many concerts Wallen has canceled.

Big Loud Records suspended his contract.

Spotify, SiriusXM, Pandora, Apple Music, CMT and the country’s most powerful radio stations – Cumulus Media, Entercom and iHeartMedia, America’s largest network – have ripped his music.

It has been banned from award shows and otherwise shunned by the industry.

A year later, all will never be forgiven in some circles.

But that didn’t stop him from connecting 10 weeks at the top of the Billboard album chart with “Dangerous,” which topped Billboard’s year-end charts for 2021.

Last month, Wallen won Album of the Year at the Academy of Country Music Awards.

By then, he had launched a sold-out Dangerous Tour at Madison Square Garden.

Now he’s headlining what looks to be by far the biggest night at this year’s Country Thunder Arizona festival.

Live from Florence:Here’s what’s happening at Country Thunder Arizona 2022

Morgan Wallen opens his set with “Sand in My Boots”

Wallen opened the show on the piano, singing the mournful rendition of “Sand in My Boots” which ends the bonus edition of “Dangerous”.

The Good Album opens with a full version of the same song, arguably the best moment on the album.

It’s the kind of song the Eagles would have written in their early years had they been better songwriters, a richly detailed story about falling in love on vacation and fooling themselves into thinking she’d actually follow him to the Tennessee.

The idea of ​​leaving Tennessee for her would never have occurred to the narrator. He’s too country for that. As Wallen sang much later in the set on “More Than My Hometown,” “I Can’t Love You More Than My Hometown.”

Morgan Wallen loves Arizona on day three of Country Thunder in Florence, Arizona on April 9.

There are several songs on “Dangerous” that seem as timeless as “Sand in My Boots,” and Wallen has played them all at Country Thunder, from “7 Summers” to “Somebody’s Problem,” “865” and “Wasted on You.” “.

Other highlights included Jason Isbell’s song “Cover Me Up” and several songs that played more into the Country Thunder mood, from “Somethin’ Country” to “Country A$$ (Expletive)” .

A number of these highlights are the work of outside writers, including Hardy, who joined him on stage for a rambunctious rendition of “He Went to Jared” from Hardy’s “Hixtape, Vol. 1.”

But Wallen participated in the writing of 16 of the 30 tracks on the album. And it’s a credit to the way he penetrates the songs he sings in that whiskey-soaked Tennessee twang that they all sound like they were written in the same voice.

Wallen scoured 16 songs from “Dangerous” to Country Thunder Arizona, dating back to his debut album, “If I Know Me,” for “Up Down,” “Chasin’ You,” “The Way I Talk,” and “Whisky Glasses.” .”

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Wallen has never addressed the controversy of the past year

Wallen talked a lot but never mentioned the events that led to him not playing Country Thunder Arizona last October. He mostly talked about the inspiration for his songs, which is great. But it felt like a missed opportunity to clear the air and maybe share her feelings that night.

An oft-repeated aspect of the narrative surrounding Wallen since this video hit TMZ is that the double-platinum success of Wallen’s album was due to — and not despite — what he said that night in Tennessee.

Of course, some people bought this album just to “own the libraries”.

Some people will do anything.

But did the Country Thunder crowd sing every word and hold their phone lights up – to songs that had nothing to do with what he said that night – to send a message ?

You would have to ask them.

But it seems more likely that they genuinely appreciate his music on a level that means more to them than what he said that night or what they think.

Morgan Wallen greets fans at the start of her second song on day three of Country Thunder in Florence, Arizona on April 9, 2022.

List of songs by Morgan Wallen

  • “Sand in My Boots” (Piano solo)
  • “Something Country”
  • “From top to bottom”
  • “Dangerous”
  • “Always Down”
  • “Silverado for Sale”
  • “7 summers”
  • “Country A$$ (expletive)”
  • “Wonderin’ Bout the Wind”
  • “Someone’s Problem”
  • “Chase You”
  • “865”
  • “Cover Me”
  • florists”
  • “He Went to Jared” (with HARDY)
  • “Warning”
  • “This Bar”
  • “More than my hometown”
  • “The Way I Speak”
  • “Heartless”
  • “Wasted on You”
  • “Whiskey Glasses”

Toya J. Bell