Tim McGraw and Faith Hill have been in both the marriage and the music businesses for over 20 years. They’re officially eligible for the traditional gift of china and consideration for the Country Music Hall Of Fame. Combining two wildly successful careers since the Nineties, they likely have plenty of fine dishware. As for the latter, they’ll have to settle for a new exhibit chronicling their careers in the Nashville landmark for now. The two 50 year olds muscled through a highly energetic, if hyper produced show that sonically and visually resembled more of a Pink Floyd Laserium experience than a retrospective showcase of contemporary country artists from the Nineties.  The material has been more than sufficiently road tested over the last 20 years as solo artists and also in the last 10 in this latest iteration of their co-headlining effort, now  rebranded for 2017 as the Soul2Soul World Tour. Performances consisted of a set by Hill and set by McGraw, with the two sharing duets before, during, and after the individual sets.

It started off as the concert fill shifted from today’s top 10 country songs to Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family.” As the video screens and lights dropped, a 60 second countdown clock appeared and when it reached 0, the two rose from under the floor to begin the duets portion of the show with McGraw’s “Felt Good On My Lips.” Though the next six songs were technically duets, they retained the stamp of the original artist. Hill’s full voice is a strong as ever, but her high octane soprano is not suited for the macho lyrics of songs such as “I Like It, I Love It.” Likewise, McGraw’s vocals do disservice to “The Lucky One.” No matter, he was drowned out by Hill and the backup singers, led by industry powerhouse Wendy Moten. That said, their rendition of “Like We Never Loved At All” was synergistic, complementary and truly felt like a collaboration.  Hill’s solo set featured a heavy dose of Top Ten hits from her catalog. The potential knockout punch of the emphatic “This Kiss” was counterbalanced four minutes later by the always gorgeous “Breathe.” She has been showcasing her rock chops on these tours with a gritty version of “Piece Of My Heart.” It is a risky choice and clearly outside of her wheelhouse but her energy and verve helped to compensate for the genre stretch. At one point McGraw quipped, “Are there any Nashville Predators fans in here?” and was met with tepid “boos” It seemed only fitting when he uttered a humble “Congratulations” while standing directly under the newly raised fifth Penguins Stanley Cup banner.

Tim McGraw singing his emotional “Live Like You Were Dying” has been the cathartic capstone of the country singer’s concerts for over a decade now. McGraw humbly squats down on the stage, as if to say the song’s power is far bigger than he. However, the pulling of heartstrings is almost too strong now because it follows directly after “Humble and Kind,” McGraw’s 2016 hit that contains equal strength to make the listener become emotional.

When opener Steve Moakler came out and said “How Youns Doing,” one may have accused him of pandering, but his Pittsburgh street cred is found in his Bethel Park roots (class of 2006) He performed a few numbers from his aptly titled country rock EP “Steel Town”

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