“This is the last show of the year, Detroit! We can sing, we can drink, we can party as long as we want to,” Bryan yelled to the Detroit crowd of 40,000.
It was also his last concert as the CMA’s reigning Entertainer of the Year (the 50th annual CMA Awards takes place Wednesday night), which likewise fired Bryan up on Saturday. “I may have, like, four more days of being Entertainer of the Year, so I’m gonna make this shit last,” he declared.
The beer was flowing freely onstage from the opening of the two-hour show, and Bryan brought the Petron out as he and Little Big Town teamed up for “Thinkin Out Loud,” morphing it into a Motown-suitable snippet of Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get It On.” Lynch and Bryan followed the duet with Brooks & Dunn’s “Play Something Country,” and Lynch let Bryan fill his cowboy hat with beer and toss it into the crowd.
Little Big Town and Lynch returned during the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ in the Dark,” surprising Bryan and his band, by wheeling bicycles around the stage, dressed for Halloween in slings, neck braces and other first aid items (Lynch also wore a Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtle helmet).
Bryan kept everyone on stage for a loose, tequila-fueled rendition of Steve Miller’s “The Joker,” then finished the night himself with a blast of his own “That Is My Kind of Night,” “I Don’t Want This Night to End” and “Country Girl (Shake It for Me).”
Bryan kicked off the Kill The Lights Tour, named after his latest studio album, on Feb. 18 in Evansville, Ind., and played 76 dates. It was the second consecutive year his tour ended at Ford Field.
Bryan won the Billboard Music Award for Top Country Artist last year. He’s up for Entertainer of the Year again at this week’s CMAs, as well as Musical Event of the Year with Karen Fairchild for “Home Alone Tonight.”