Live on the Green

Live on the Green

  • Article by: Matt Dodson; Photos by Bryson Leach
  • Posted: 09/12/2011

Just as Nashville was fighting the 5:00 traffic to catch Lightning 100’s first Live on the Green outdoor concert, Will Hoge was striking his first chord. But it didn’t take long for him to catch the crowd’s attention. The Nashville native’s honest and sincere yet emotionally complex lyrics hooked the audience, despite the less-than-ideal timing.

After a short set lasting about an hour, Hoge’s sincerity and storytelling nature had reigned in the meandering crowd, and his alternative-country twang and singer-songwriter sound provided a perfect Nashville-style welcome for the headlining act: the Nashville Symphony, accompanied by atmospheric songsmith K.S. Rhoads.

The only catch was that members of the Symphony couldn’t play their delicate instruments outdoors in temperatures below 65 degrees. So when the forecast for Thursday night threatened to cancel the performance, Lightning 100’s administration was forced to make the difficult decision to push up the time.

Once Hoge’s set was complete, fire dancer Chris Bailey made sure the audience (especially the front row, who sat warmingly close to his blazing ballet) stayed on its toes.

Then, the Nashville Symphony kicked off their set by playing a few movements from Beethoven, Stravinsky and Dvorak before Rhoads joined the many musicians onstage.

Fans may know Rhoads for his song “Dark Hotel,” which made a television appearance on CSI. But the current Ten out of Tenn member converted many new fans with his virtuoso talents by skillfully accompanying the symphony on keyboard and guitar and giving energetic, soulful performances of his own songs as well as a few covers.

Rhoads soon introduced a song by saying he wanted to play something everyone could sing along to. The symphony members flipped the pages of their music and began to play the opening notes to a hilariously recognizable tune: Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

The fact that Rhoads is the only person (at least the only one we know) who could convince the Nashville Symphony to play a Katy Perry song is not what garnered his new fans or the audience’s rapt attention throughout the night. Instead, it was the fact that Rhoads had scored all of his songs for the more than 50-piece orchestra himself. Plus, he could keep pace with the highly trained musicians flawlessly.

Rhoads’ crisp voice floated nicely over the enormous orchestral score and fit perfectly into the first cool night of fall.

View our Flash! review from Live on the Green here.

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