By WES VIRGINIA
SARATOGA SPRINGS — When Florida Georgia Line took the stage at Saratoga Performing Center, it was an entrance that could have made Gene Simmons of Kiss jealous! As the flames rose from the stage and the smoke billowed, Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelly, who together make up Florida Georgia Line, are lowered down on individual floating stages while belting out their hit “This Is How We Roll.” Now don’t get me wrong, I totally appreciate the grand “arena” type shows with all of the pyrotechnics, video montages and elaborate lighting you can put together but it’s not the mental image I have in my head when I’m going to get my country on. It really made me realize that the genre lines are blurring more than I knew. After all, this is the “new country” which is drawing more rock, pop and rap influences than ever before.
FGL rolled through a trio of hits with “It’s Just What We Do,” “Round Here,” and “Anything Goes” before hitting the crowd with “Dig Your Roots,” the title track off its latest release. This was my favorite song of the night with a heartwarming introduction by both Hubbard and Kelly. Okay. Perhaps it was a little sappy, but it worked.
The current radio hit from “Dig Your Roots,” “H.O.L.Y.” had every fan in the house swaying and singing. It was the great moment of the show.
At one point FGL played a shortened version of Bob Marley’s “Three Little Birds” which was the perfect segue to its party anthem “Sun Dazed” followed by “Get Your Shine On” to finish the set.
The encore brought a special treat of a medley made up of Hubbard and Kelly’s nostalgic favorites from the 90s — “Ride Wit Me,” Everybody (Backstreets Back), “This Is How We Do It,” and “Jump Around” — that deviated a little more away from the Nashville norm. It was a really fun medley that the crowd ate up!
Finally their huge hit Cruise to finishes off the night with a true crowd pleaser. I have to say that these guys gave the audience what they came for and then some! Truly an entertaining show that did it’s best to give everyone their money’s worth!
There was a moment during this great show that I wasn’t thrilled with. When they were introducing their song Smooth, they began to plug their new whiskey by FGL. It might not have bothered me if they didn’t plug it a second time later on. Now I like to support entrepreneurs, but let me find it at the merch table!
Other noteworthy observations…..Almost NO cowboy hats! This really is the new country!