When Lee Brice finished his hour and a half long set and walked off of the stage at Comerica Theatre, the roar and the cheers from the crowd, along with the standing ovation, were as loud and lasted as long as I can recall in recent memory. Brice fed off of the crowd's energy through his entire performance and drew deafening reactions from fans that had left their own personal parking lot parties to join his.
"Tonight is going to be rocking," he told me that afternoon, "because things have changed since the last time we were here, and I'm excited to see the party happen."
And party he did, along with a packed crowd inside the theatre. The vivid imagery in the lyrics of his country songs is on par with the greats in the genre, and he is proud to say that country music is in the deepest part of his roots.
The first wave of songs was an ice-breaking combination to get the show started, with highly danceable and singable music; Brice was all smiles during his third song, "Hard to Love", while the crowd sang every word a cappella. After an ode to mankind's greatest invention over the sound system, the song "Beer" came to life.
During the night, Brice took the audience on a roller coaster ride through his diverse albums by seamlessly transitioning the setlist from the slower-paced, thought-provoking music to the scream-inducing country anthems for their heart-racing drop into a loop.
"I'm thankful for this next song, because I think it's the reason we're able to be here tonight," Brice told the audience before singing the feel-good love song "A Woman like You"; every guy turned to his girl to sing each verse.
Brice carried himself with a deep heartfelt presence throughout his show, and his gratitude for his fans is always apparent. He dedicated "I Drive Your Truck" to America's military men and women and first-responders. The drummer added a signature military cadence to the beginning of the song before Brice began to sing.
It was somewhere around the song "See About a Girl" when I looked at the crowd and saw all the women singing and swaying along, their hands held close to their bodies, that I realized the kind of standard Lee Brice sets for men to live up to with all his lyrics of purity and sacrifice in the name of love.
Toward the end of the performance, Brice played two new songs that he promised would be his next singles. "Drinking Class" prompted the audience to tote their beers high in the air and sing along by the second chorus; he followed it with "I Don't Dance." The crowd loudly acknowledged their approval of both new songs.
For the finale, Brice introduced the additional six members of his band on stage and welcomed them each as they played an instrumental solo. He then concluded the show with his latest single, "Parking Lot Party." 102.5 KNIX mascot Barrel Boy joined the band on stage for the final song as he shouted the words and poured beer over his face while Brice kept the crowd's hands high in the air.
Set List: That's when You Know It's Over Friends We Won't Forget Hard to Love Beer That Way Again Ring in my Pocket A Woman like You No Better than This Life off My Years I Drive Your Truck See About a Girl Love Like Crazy Drinking Class I Don't Dance Parking Lot Party
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Critic's Notebook Last Night: Lee Brice at Comerica Theatre The Crowd: A wide variety of country fans from the young to the older. Lots of girls in tight jeans and short shorts with cowboy boots. Overheard In The Crowd: "Lee Brice is telling us how to get laid!" A younger guy a few rows behind me said to his buddy next to him when Brice paused in the middle of "A Woman like You" to tell the audience that it is amazing how far you can get in your life if you just whisper in your girl's ear. Personal Bias: The song "I Drive Your Truck" gives me Goosebumps every time I hear it on the radio, and seeing it live is even more powerful.