Review By: Alexia Blue
Artist: Luke Combs
Date: September 11th, 2021
Location: PNC Arena, Raleigh, NC
September 11th, 2021 marked the second sold out date for North Carolina’s own, Luke Combs! Combs sold out the massive 22,000 capacity PNC Arena in Raleigh, NC two nights in a row, and gave the best performance I have ever seen at the hugely popularvenue. As soon as Luke took the stage that evening, the crowd began singing along with every song played, hitting every note and every lyric without missing a beat. This quickly established a strong, and intimate, connection with all 22,000 fans, that was reminiscent of a much smaller venue. He played several of his biggest songs such as “Beautiful Crazy”, “She Got The Best Of Me”, and “Forever After All”. The setlist was stacked with many fan favorites that they all seemed to know by heart. Midway through, Combs took the time to acknowledge that today was 9/11. He recalled in detail what he was doing on this same day 20 years prior. He explained how much the events of September 11th impacted his life, and went on to dedicate his performance of “Even Though I’m Leaving” to all of those lost on September 11th. As the song began to echo through the arena, thousands of phone lights went up in the air and everyone sang together once again, creating a sea of small twinkles and the sound of 22,000 voices humming through the venue. It was a moment unlike any I have ever witnessed and one I know I won’t personally be forgetting anytime soon. He played many other songs, and gave an amazing encore including one of my favorite Luke Combs songs, “Better Together”. There was one song in particular that stole the show over all the others; “Houston, We Got A Problem” was an unexpected show stopper of a song, one I didn’t think would take the crowd in the way it did. Before playing this song, Combs mentioned how it came to be, writing it in the early days of his relationship with his now wife, Nicole Hocking. The raw emotion conveyed, in not only the story of how the song was written, but in the performance of it as well, was unlike any other seen that night. As the lyrics danced through the sea of thousands, it had an edge to it that gave chills with every note, and evoked in me a tearfilled reaction at the beauty of this song live. Without cutting any corners, “Houston, We Got A Problem” tells in strong detail exactly what it feels to miss someone so much, even the beauty around you can’t sway your mind from the feelings running through your head.
All in all, Luke Combs put on a show that I was not expecting to see; one filled with beautiful crowd connection, stories of how countless songs came to life, and incredible performances of every song played that evening.