More than 60,000 people packed the University of Georgia's Sanford Stadium Saturday to see a pair of the state's native sons, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, play the first concert at the Athens university venue.
"This is definitely one of the highlights of my career, playing here tonight," headliner Aldean said from the stage during a 90-minute set that included hits My Kinda Party, Take a Little Ride and new single 1994. Aldean also thanked Georgia football coach Mark Richt "for letting us tear up your football field for a night."
The concert included a surprise appearance by rapper Ludacris, who joined Aldean for Dirt Road Anthem. Bryan, the Academy of Country Music's newly crowned entertainer of the year returned after his set to perform The Only Way I Know with Aldean. Kelly Clarkson made a virtual appearance for the duet Don't You Wanna Stay, having filmed her performance to be used on one of the stage's high-definition video screens.
In addition to Bryan, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett were support acts for Aldean's show.
"As a kid, I didn't come here, because we couldn't afford tickets," Aldean said before the show. "The first time I came to a game here, I was probably 20 years old. But, growing up, I was a big fan, obviously. It was the Herschel Walker days; he was the Heisman Trophy winner, and they were winning national championships. So I watched every game I could remember on TV.
"The first time I stepped foot in this place, I was just glad to be able to see a game, much less ever think I would play it. So it's a pretty big deal. At the end of my career, when it's all said and down, this'll be the one show i can always look back on and go, 'That's one of the defining moments of my carer.'"
Aldean's Night Train Tour includes upcoming stadium dates at Boston's Fenway Park (July 12, 13) and Chicago's Wrigley Field (July 20).