Nashville Rising Benefit Concert Recap
"Nashville Rising," Nashville's sold-out concert for flood relief last night, brought lots of music and generosity and a surprise appearance by Oscar winner Sandra Bullock to downtown Nashville seven weeks after floods washed through Music City. The evening started off with a video of the flood damage of the May 2010 floods. Tim McGraw and Faith Hill were then joined by Tennessee's Governor, Nashville's Mayor and Titans football players to welcome fans to the show. Faith told the crowd that two billion dollars in damage was caused in Nashville alone and 70,000 tons of debris were removed in the weeks following the flood. She then told the crowd, "We are all the same… we are just neighbors who care."
Highlights of the night included:
Actress Sandra Bullock surprising the crowd in a rare post-split appearance on the stage to introduce Faith Hill. Holding a guitar, Bullock said she would entertain the crowd. She sat down with a guitar and played a slow "Smoke On The Water" rift before telling the crowd, "Who am I kidding. I can't play for crap." Bullock went on to say that the Nashville community taught the country a lesson and that "there were no weak links." She then introduced Faith, calling her a "disgustingly beautiful woman."
Faith Hill hit the stage and performed "Stronger" and "Piece Of My Heart" after telling the audience, "God, I love this town, seriously. I hope you never get tired of everyone's thank you, Nashville."
Carrie Underwood opening the show performing "Undo It" and then what she called an appropriate song for the night, "Jesus Take The Wheel." She told the crowd, "We are very glad to be here tonight for this cause."
Blake Shelton told the crowd, "There's no reason we shouldn't raise a little bit of hell in here tonight," before launching into his chart topper, "Hillbilly Bone," in which he was joined by Trace Adkins.
Nashville native Reese Witherspoon sent in a video message from the set of her new movie, Water for Elephants. She said in part, "I so wish I could be there tonight. One thing I know about people from Nashville is we take care of each other. I hope that they know we are there for them."
Dolly Parton sent a video message saying, "Nashville Rising is just another way to say love thy neighbor and that water never did get high enough to dampen our spirits." Dolly went on to say that she couldn't believe how much the flood destroyed but that she knows Nashville will be rebuilt. Actor Matthew McConaughey also sent in a video asking folks to "give what we can, help these people gets their lives back to together and just keep living."
Taylor Swift sang, "You Belong With Me" and "Love Story" and told the audience, "It is so good to be back home in Nashville, Tennessee. I'm so honored that Tim and Faith would invite me out to be a part of this night. I love you Nashville."
LeAnn Rimes hit the stage in an orange dress and high heels singing her new single, "Swingin,'" then told the crowd, "I hope we can take your mind off of it and we love you guys so much." She then sang "What I Cannot Change."
Martina McBride played the harmonica and sang "Love's The Only House" and "Blessed." She talked about being blessed to live in Nashville and felt honored to be here before singing the emotional "Anyway," saying it was a song about her adopted home city.
A mellower Miranda Lambert sang, "White Liar" and "The House That Built Me." Before she sang the later she told the crowd, "I only lived here for a year but this is the house that built what I love - country music. This town is why I love what I do I think this song is really appropriate for tonight."
A heavily-tattooed Billy Ray Cyrus sported a do-rag, dark sunglasses, dangling earrings and a t-shirt with sleeves ripped off. He performed "Could've Been Me." Miley Cyrus sang her hit "The Climb" after telling the crowd, "I always look for a good excuse to comeback home. I want to do this song especially for my friends in Nashville."
After a microphone glitch that silenced Toby Keith in the first few lines of "As Good as I Once Was," Keith regained sound. Toby told the crowd that a lot of his band members lost a lot in the flood. He said, "I don't get to do many of these things because I don't live here but I am honored to be here for Tim and Faith, it's a Godsend to Nashville." Keith then sang "I Love This Bar."
The night ended with a performance from Tim McGraw, whose band played all night long with each artist, who sang "Southern Voice" and "Live Like You Were Dying."
Throughout the night, big checks were presented to the Community Foundation of Tennessee by the Nashville Predators, the Titans, Jackson Financial, BMI, Sharpie and the Academy of Country Music. McGraw estimated that the event brought in two or three million dollars.