The second night of CMA Fest culminated at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium in a stacked performer lineup that featured collaborations galore. The evening was balmy, and the approximately 60,000 fans packed into the stadium were already primed from the dozens of acts that played various daytime stages around downtown Nashville earlier in the day.
The Friday night (June 9) lineup featured Tanya Tucker, Miranda Lambert, Lainey Wilson, Keith Urban, Dalton Dover, Hailey Whitters and HARDY — along with a surprise performance from Billboard cover star Jelly Roll. The star-studded event blazed even brighter thanks to the slew of surprise collaborations dotted throughout the show.
Below, we highlight top moments from the second night of CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium. CMA Fest runs June 8-11 in downtown Nashville.
Miranda Lambert’s Punk-Pop Moment With Avril Lavigne
Lambert was already several songs deep into a swaggering, hit-filled set that included “Little Red Wagon” and “Gunpowder and Lead,” when she threw a curveball into her show, delighting the crowd by welcoming Avril Lavigne to the stage. The two launched into passion-soaked performance of Lambert’s revenge-minded 2005 hit “Kerosene,” then melted the edges between country and pop-punk, with a freewheeling performance of Lavigne’s Grammy-nominated signature hit “Sk8er Boi” that found Lambert and Lavigne matching each other’s spitfire lyrics note for note.
Cody Johnson & Reba McEntire Partner on Classic Ballad
Texan Johnson and Okie McEntire previously teamed up for a duet version of Johnson’s hit “Dear Rodeo.” But in his concerts, Johnson also often performs a sturdy version of McEntire’s 1986 song “Whoever’s in New England.” During his set, which also included “Human” and “Til You Can’t,” Johnson instantly brought the Nissan Stadium crowd to its feet by welcoming the Country Music Hall of Fame member to the stage during his set to join him on the song. Their voices blended wondrously on the elegant, muscular vocal showcase — while McEntire’s take on the song’s final notes highlighted her timeless vocal mastery.
Lambert Duets With Leon Bridges, Reprises Hit Collab With Elle King
This week, ACM entertainer of the year winner Lambert debuted her collaboration with fellow Texan and musician Leon Bridges, titled “If You Were Mine.” On Friday evening, they brought this laid-back, tender love song front and center, further elevated by their superb harmonies. Later in her set, Lambert also welcomed Elle King for a raucous, sassy, party-starting rendition of “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home).” The joy and fun on the two artists’ faces was undeniable as they ran through the ’80s pop-flavored number, as audience members hoisted beer cans into the air and gleefully screamed the chorus.
Jelly Roll’s Hometown Dreams Continue to Come True
Over the past couple of years, Jelly Roll has ascended, with jaw-dropping speed, from selling out shows at the Ryman Auditorium to packing out Bridgestone Arena. Earlier in the week, the Antioch, Tennessee, native told Billboard that one of his dreams is to headline a show at Nissan Stadium. On Friday evening, he got a taste of what that triumphant moment would feel like, as he performed two songs on a satellite stage in the midst of the approximately 60,000-person crowd at Nissan Stadium. Jelly Roll was overcome with heartfelt emotion at the closure of his set, soaking in the crowd’s reaction to his transcendent performances of “Son of a Sinner” and “I Need a Favor.” As he made his exit following the performance, the sounds of the crowd fervently chanting his name lingered.
Tanya Tucker, Lainey Wilson & King Take on a Tucker Classic
Tucker, Wilson and King became the trio we didn’t know we needed, as this collective of talented, visionary women artists came together to cover Tucker’s 1978 song “Texas (When I Die).” The freewheeling collab found them trading off verses, chiming in with various harmony lines and bringing their electrifying onstage personalities out full force on this light-hearted ode to the Lone Star State.
Keith Urban Gets Up Close With Fans
Over the past two decades-plus, Urban has developed a singular trust and closeness with his audience, an artist-fan bond perhaps not matched by any other artist in the format. As his shows have evolved, he’s remained dedicated to bringing his music to his fans — directly — by playing on both satellite stages and the main stage in his concerts, and by greeting fans up close along the way. No exception was made for the sheer size of the Nissan Stadium crowd on Friday night, as Urban at one point in his show posted himself in the middle of the crowd to perform a relaxed yet sultry version of his 2016 hit “Blue Ain’t Your Color,” a song which earned Urban a CMA Award for single of the year.
HARDY, Wilson Bring the Drama on Hit Collab
HARDY closed out the Friday evening show with a string of songs from his recent album, The Mockingbird & The Crow, including “Sold Out,” “Kill Sh*t Til I Die,” “Truck Bed” and “Jack.” The audience got an extra dose of drama with the excellently-crafted revenge/murder ballad “Wait in the Truck.” He welcomed Lainey Wilson back to the stage for the duet, which merged Wilson’s high-energy, engaging performance style with HARDY’s brooding, gruff voice, heightening the song’s storyline of revenge and redemption.