Tim McGraw and Faith Hill’s Soul2Soul World Tour is grounded in tradition and a consistent fan base. 2017 holds the third installment of their joint tour. Back by popular demand.
I am getting ready for the show. I slip on a black Dotted Swiss top with colorful floral accents. It reminds me of a combination of Tim McGraw’s “Felt Good on My Lips” and “Southern Girl.”
I get on I-81 and drive toward Knoxville, Tennessee. I meet my family and we make it to Thompson-Boling arena in time for Eric Paslay’s set.
While he plays for the crowd I hear the familiar, radio-played lyrics: keep on dreamin’, even if it breaks your heart followed by she don’t love you she’s just lonely, she wasn’t once upon a time.
Minutes after, country’s most dynamic power couple take the stage together. Expecting nothing less, Tim is sporting his signature black cowboy hat and skin-tight, black t-shirt with fitted, black pants. Faith looks like a country music goddess in her snug burgundy gown with a slit up to her hip and gladiator strapped sandals that reach above her ankles.
Together they prime the stage with a dual Aretha Franklin cover of “I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me).” As Faith backs Tim he sings about a señorita with cherry lip gloss in “Felt Good on My Lips.” As the song fades, an acoustic six-string with a sparkly strap is placed on Faith from behind. In all of her charming Mississippi girl ways she seamlessly begins “The Lucky One.” Tim backs her as she smiles and sings the words: ’cause you’re mine, that’s all I need to know.
Transported back to 2000, Tim and Faith take turns with “I Like It, I Love It” and “The Way You Love Me.”
As husband and wife they passionately duet, “Like We Never Loved At All” and “Break First.”
Tim exits the stage in a dim transition and the show becomes Faith’s own and leaves me asking jokingly “Tim who?” Her persona on-stage is the perfect combination of charm, class, sass, gratefulness, presentness, and gentleness. Amidst telling girls- young and old- they are capable of whatever they work hard for, she performs “Free,” “This Kiss,” “Breathe,” and “Wild One.”
Faith takes a seat with her guitar center stage. A platform rises from the base of the stage, Tim reappears. In solemn expression he sings: here we are, what is left of a husband and a wife. As the song “Angry All the Time” continues, Faith’s silhouette can be seen playing the guitar behind him.
The show is handed over to Tim and the crowd welcomes him back with screams. Tim rouses the crowd with “One of Those Nights” and “Real Good Man.” His band members gather around him for an acapella snippet of “Where the Green Grass Grows.” His bad boy persona is the balance to Faith’s charming, girl-next door charisma.
Whereas Faith shows her gratitude by interacting with the crowd, Tim expresses his state by often knealing during songs to either watch his band, the screen, the crowd, or his wife.
Soul 2 Soul is wholesome. It’s tradition. It’s family. It’s love. It’s country music. It’s values.
On this note, the words of “Humble and Kind” fill the arena as the screen behind Tim shows a slideshow of diversity: people who are of different ages, races, and walks of life.
If there is anyone sitting down, they must be standing when Tim opens his mouth and out comes he said I was in my early forties, with a lot of life before me, and a moment came that stopped me on a dime. It’s an unspoken rule that you do not merely sing along to “Live Like You Were Dying”, you scream it with meaning. And that is just what happens. The song is anthemic in nature and nearly-spiritual when 15,000+ concert-goers are in unison.
Powerfully, the moment fades and Faith re-enters the stage. Together Tim and Faith perform side by side “Speak to a Girl” and “It’s Your Love.” I can’t help but think how unique their life is. A husband and wife on tour together, nearly of equal standing and success as country music artists.
After both Tim and Faith walk through the crowd, the iconic Soul2Soul moment closes the show. Two chairs facing one another with one mic between them. Knee-to-knee with Tim’s hands on Faith’s legs, they sing “I Need You.” The song fades and the power couple share their only kiss of the night.
They give thanks. The house lights come on and the crowd disperses.