It may have been cold outside, but inside the Verizon Center Saturday night was fire. Dustin Lynch brought his Ride or Die, first headlining tour to Mankato. The sold out crowd had no troubles keeping warm. Lynch brought along newcomers Mitchell Tenpenny and the band Lanco to get the crowd fired up for one Hell of a night.
Singer/songwriter Mitchell Tenpenny was the first to get the crowd warmed up. Tenpenny started his set with an ode to freedom and the open road with “Truck I drove”. Mitchell's voice is smooth and inviting. A mix of soul meets country.
Tenpenny’s set included everything from fun sing along songs to heartbreak, like his song “Mixed Drinks" which he wrote with Jordan Walker of Walker Mcguire. The song takes place in a bar watching a lady taking one night to drink the heartbreak away. Mitchell closed his set with the head turning song “Bitches". The song is about cheaters and ridding oneself of people like that. In Mitchell's words, “Yeah, it can be a harsh word, but in our song, it's about a feeling more than a cuss.” Tenpenny may not be a household name for his voice just yet, but he has written some amazing songs for artists such as American Idol winner Nick Fradiani and “If the boot fits” the Granger Smith hit, which Tenpenny cowrote. I recommend checking Mitchell out for yourself, this guy is off to big things.
Lanco was next to take the stage in Mankato. These guys came out of the gates ready to party and show Minnesota how to have a good time. The crowd was treated to some new songs off their soon to be released album, which the crowd was informed will be dropping sometime in January.
These guys are high energy, feel good, forget about the world kind of band. In between playing their own songs the guys busted out into a honky tonk with their cover of the John Michael Montgomery hit “Grundy County Auction”. Wanting to get the crowd firing on all cylinders for Dustin, Lanco took the party into the crowd with a drum in tow during their song “You and Me”.
Before handing the crowd over to Lynch, Lanco thanked the crowd for coming out early to catch their set. And for always being so warm and welcoming every time they play in Minnesota. They then closed their set with their hit song “Greatest Love Story”. If you haven't seen Lanco, you are in for a treat. The guys will be back here in February along with Kane Brown and headliner Chris Young.
Filled with anticipation the crowd screamed as the screen on stage started showing Dustin in black and white. It was finally time to amp up this party even more, as the screen suggested it's “Ride or Die time, party at your own risk”. Lynch appeared on stage kicking off his set with “Here we come”off his new album ‘Current Mood’.
Dustin wasted no time, not wanting to interrupt the killer party going on he performed hit after hit, mixed in with new songs. From “Hell of a night” to “New Girl” the crowd sang along.
Lynch commanded the stage like a seasoned pro, it was hard to tell this was his very first headlining tour. In fact, someone who didn't know any better would never have known. Dustin did a great job of mixing his songs in with crowd pleasing covers, like his version of Flo Rida’s “Welcome to my house”.
Slowing things down a bit, Lynch took to a bar stool and his guitar serenading the crowd with his hit song, “Cowboys and Angels”. Lynch explained that Minnesota holds a special place in his heart with the song. Said the first time he north of Kentucky, playing that song was right here in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Of course the crowd went wild with cheers and screams. Dustin then asked the crowd if he could record the crowd singing in the state he first performed the song so he could show everyone. With that, the crowd sang along with the Chorus before erupting in cheers once again.
The connection Dustin has with the crowd is undeniable, a sight to witness. He is a humble performer, at one point in the show paying tribute to all the artists he has opened up for: Brad Paisley (“Mud on the tires"), Keith Urban (“Somebody Like You"), Luke Bryan (“Play it again"), and Florida Georgia Line (“H.O.L.Y.”).
There is no doubt why Lynch is a fan favorite. Between amazing hits, to his ability to connect with the person in the front and the person all the way in the back, to his mega smile. The Ride or Die tour was one of my favorite shows this year. I say the best is yet to come from Lynch. His sold out, first headlining tour is just the beginning of many more. And Dustin, you know all of us in Minnesota will be your Ride or Die crowd!