By Amy Dolkas
San Diego just wrapped up the country concert season at Sleep Train Amphitheatre with huge name acts like Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean putting on tremendous performances. Chase Rice came to town following these huge acts and played a smaller show at the House of Blues. To my pleasant surprise, Rice put on a fun show that was quite deserving of a much bigger stage.
His is one of the most unique country shows I have ever been to. Rice clearly puts in the effort to make his shows memorable and enjoyable. Covering hip hop and rock songs like “Country Grammar” by Nelly and “What’s my Age Again?” by Blink 182, the songwriter shared his musical influences growing up. He reminded the audience that all kinds of music can serve for writing inspiration. The crowd was having a blast singing along with all of the throwback songs he played. Instead of simply singing his songs, Rice involved the audience throughout the show. He pulled up a girl with a birthday tiara on stage to sing her the SoMo song “Ride”, making her blush and the audience cheer. Later on in the show he split the crowd in half and along with the help of his band put on a little contest of which side of the room could sing louder. He showed genuine excitement when the crowd got engaged and sang along. Rice explained that he moved to Nashville planning to be a songwriter, not a performer. Luckily something changed that plan because Rice has the confidence to command the attention of the entire room in a captivating way.
He shared a touching moment with the audience when he performed his song “Jack Daniels and Jesus”. The song is about a time in Rice’s life when was struggling and felt lost after suffering the loss of his father. He explained to the audience that this is his favorite song he has ever written because it came from a place of complete honesty and vulnerability. His band stepped away and Rice performed the song with just his acoustic guitar, exactly how he had written it. Playing this kind of sad but honest song in the middle of a energetic show revealed how important the song is the singer. It was apparent that Rice wanted to show all sides of himself to the audience, which takes a lot of courage, especially when most people know him for his party hit “Ready Set Roll”. It was a move that elicited respect from the audience and showed that Rice is a serious songwriter who is sure to excel in the country music world.
Rice left the stage without playing his hit single “Ready Set Roll”, so when he came back out for the encore, everyone was expecting him to play the beloved song. Many in the crowd were surprised to learn that Rice’s biggest song he has written is not in fact “Ready Set Roll”, but “Cruise” recorded by Florida Georgia Line. Rice then sang both songs for his encore set and the crowd went nuts singing along to every word of both hits. Rice has only been on the country music scene for a handful and years and has already written huge hits that are changing the sound of country music. It is clear this man has quite a future ahead of him in the music business.
At the end of his show Rice showed his gratitude to the audience by going down and walking through the crowd, signing autographs and taking photos with fans. The classy gesture showed tremendous character and was yet another move that showed this emerging singer is worthy of respect.