Music fans across all genres were in for a treat on Friday night as Summerfest brought a special community concert to celebrate the first month of shows at the brand new American Family Insurance Amphitheater. Headlined by country music’s Little Big Town and Wisconsin’s own The BoDeans, the musically diverse performance was a perfect way to kick off the weekend on Milwaukee’s Lakefront.
Here are six reasons you shouldn’t have missed Little Big Town and the BoDeans’ Friday night performance at the renovated American Family Insurance Amphitheater:
1. A wide-ranging, multi-genre lineup
Summerfest delivered an unlikely pairing with the BoDeans and Little Big Town. The Amp was full with all kinds of music fans – some of which were there to see Waukesha’s own, the BoDeans; some decked in their cowboy boots ready to party on their pontoon with Little Big Town; and some who simply wanted to enjoy some live music for the first time in a long time.
Although each of the acts brought a completely different sound to the stage, each act delivered a performance that all in attendance could enjoy.
2. The show was one of the first in the new amphitheater
Fans arrived early to enjoy the nice weather and walk around the brand new American Family Insurance Amphitheater and its more than $50 million dollars of renovations. Following performances by the Foo Fighters and The Black Crowes, Friday evening’s lineup was just the third concert in the new Amp and one of several that will take place before Summerfest kicks off at the beginning of September.
3. Summerfest provided a safe environment for live music
Friday night also marked Summerfest and the American Family Insurance Amphitheater’s first concert with new COVID-19 protocols, which require that fans show proof of COVID-19 vaccination or a negative test taken within 72 hours of the performance. For those who were unaware or unprepared for the new policy, testing was available on-site.
In an effort to curb COVID-19 cases in the community and to provide a safe environment for fans, staff and the artists, Summerfest’s new policy went as well as one could reasonably expect for its first show.
4. The BoDeans made Milwaukee proud
Born on 51st and Lisbon in Milwaukee, the BoDean’s Kurt Neumann took time to greet his hometown crowd of fans and express his love for the city of Milwaukee. After sharing his memories of the Cream City, Neumann and company got the night started with a set that included a number of their biggest hits, including “Hold You Tonight," "Runaway" and "Closer to Free."
5. Little Big Town kicked things off with a summer classic
What better way to kick off a Little Big Town concert on Lake Michigan than with one of the best lake songs ever, “Pontoon”? Fans instantly got on their feet as the Alabama natives began their headlining set. Although the band delivered several other hit singles throughout the night, “Pontoon” was a perfect track to walk out to.
6. The night will go down in Milwaukee music venue history
It was very fitting that Little Big Town was selected to be the first country music act to perform at the new Amphitheater as the talented quartet was also the last country act to perform at the Bradley Center. Like that great performance, Friday night’s concert will go down in Milwaukee music venue history and consisted of a great set from start to finish by Little Big Town.
The magnitude of the evening was also heightened by the circumstances surrounding the music industry over the past year. Friday was one of the first big concerts in the city of Milwaukee as well as one of Little Big Town’s first performances in over a year, and LBT ‘s Jimi Westbrook took the time to address the hiatus in live music since the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Thank y'all for being here!” Westbrook told the crowd during the middle of Little Big Town’s performance. “Out of everything that we’ve missed about this, what we’ve missed the most is you guys singing along,” the singer continued before the band performed a great cover of Sir Elton John’s “Rocketman," one of a couple covers throughout the setlist.
Lucky for Little Big Town, their four voices turned into a few thousand as Milwaukee joined the group to sing along throughout the entirety of their memorable set.