Chris Lane Performs On Campus, Unites New And Old Country

Melody Conrad 
Incoming A&E Editor

Chris Lane, American country music singer and songwriter, battled cold and rain Saturday to deliver a concert that offered a range of country and pop with plenty of onstage guests.

Lane opened the night with his No. 1 hit “Fix,” and the crowd erupted with cheers as he leapt around the stage. Phones lit up as students tried to capture the popular song, and voices rose as students sang along.

“To hear a crowd sing one of your songs back to you, that feeling is hard to beat!” Lane said.

His tenor voice floated above the audience as he followed with other songs from his second studio album “Laps Around the Sun,” using songs like “Fishin’” to hook the crowd before seamlessly transitioning to Tim McGraw’s “I Like It, I Love It.”

While the song highlighted his strong vocal range, he seemed to lack the rustic country tone that older country music often embodies. His pop music edge slid in to the song, and the old-dirt-road feeling was replaced by a newer, slightly dusty asphalt vibe.

Instead of focusing on his own songs throughout the night, Lane also pulled from the country-pop nature of his albums to highlight other artist’s country and pop songs during the show.

Lane sang Blink-182’s “All the Small Things” and Bruno Mars’ “24K Magic” along with the audience, and concert-goers sang these songs louder than any others throughout the night.

“I liked when he did the pop part,” UD first-year Joseph Blazer said. He felt Lane had strong energy throughout the section.

A good portion of the concert, however, rested on Lane’s covers of popular 90’s country music.

After borrowing a “real cowboy hat,” from a guy in the crowd, Lane disappeared from stage for a few minutes before reappearing to Diamond Rio’s “Meet in the Middle”.

While his cover of McGraw earlier may have been lacking, Lane stepped it up for “Meet in the Middle” and the 90’s medley by delivering a powerful list of strong country music including Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman,” Deana Carter’s “Strawberry Wine” and Tim McGraw’s “Where the Green Grass Grows”.  Lane confidently showcased the lower side of his voice, and his country side shined despite the dreary weather.

Lane also touched on some popular line dance songs from the 90’s including Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee” and Tracy Byrd’s “Watermelon Crawl.” Although the audience had no room for line dances, Lane’s vocals had enough movement to make up for it. Like scooping a spoon into a ripe watermelon on a bright summer day, Lane’s voice dipped and rose before finishing in a sweet three-part harmony with other band members.

Although Lane’s vocals were above the bar, his stage presence was heavily dependent on outside factors, and the audience watched him repeat the same couple moves on the small stage.

Pointing to the sky, punching the air and the ‘rock on’ gestures were used frequently throughout the night, and Lane also spent a considerable amount of time hiding behind a mic stand or guitar.

Lane strayed from his back-pocket moves, however, when his seven-year-old nephew Cally took to the stage for “New Phone, Who’s This?”

The seven-year-old bopped around as Lane bent over to sing to him, and for a good portion of the song, Cally was singing right alongside Lane.

As the song hit the end of the final chorus, the instruments dropped low and Lane stepped back to allow Cally to shout, “New phone, who’s this?”

The audience screamed for Cally in support, and he waved happily at the swarm of students at his feet.

According to Austin Wilt, who helps with Lane’s tech and lighting, Cally’s appearance was a special treat. The boy has made only a few appearances at concerts.

Another employee said that after the show, Cally ran to the bus, grabbed some napkins and distributed signed versions with his name for some concert-goers.

Keeping with the relatives, Lane also invited his twin brother and drummer Cory to sing Kenny Chesney’s “I Go Back” during the show. Singing runs in the family, and Cory delivered a strong cover with a solid melody.

Another guest invited on stage included a female student from the audience that made a sign for the concert.

Donning a classic cowgirl hat, she sat down on stage as Lane, clad in a tight tank top and jeans, serenaded her with “I Don’t Know About You.” After nodding along enthusiastically and laughing, she stood up near the end of the song and began dancing. Hat in hand, she threw her arm above her head and cocked her head back with a big smile.

Lane finished his set with “I Don’t Know About You” featuring Tori Kelly. The audience sang along, but after hours in the rain, the students sounded drained and tired. Lane’s song involved a solo from Kelly during the second verse, but without Kelly onstage, Lane was left to hold the mic out to the crowd as the studio track played her voice through the speakers.

A relatively successful concert, Lane had some appreciative words to say to UD about the concert.

“I hope all the Flyers know that I greatly appreciate them coming to check out the show. That always means a lot especially when the weather isn’t the best.”

Before Lane, Crystal Carter and Kindergarten opened to a raincoat-clad bunch of students. Carter’s cover of Adele’s “Set Fire to the Rain” melded well with the fat drops falling from the sky, and Kindergarten followed to energize the crowd with songs like “Soup of the Day” and “Paradise City”.

Photos courtesy of Griffin Quinn and Melody Conrad. 

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