Well, someone forgot to tell Jason! When it came to the pop powerhouse's part in the song, Jason stepped back toward the ramp and did a sweep of his hand as Kelly started to sing ... but there was no Kelly there. He instantly realized she was coming in from the side of the stage and did another grand sweep to bring her on.
"Yeah, it kind of took me by surprise," he told The Boot backstage at a post-show reception. "I guess she realized that she wouldn't be able to walk down that ramp in her heels, but I didn't know, so there I am trying to introduce her and she's not there!"
The rest of the show was glitch-free, as Jason received several standing ovations and plenty of screams and applause. He opened with 'Johnny Cash,' the song that set the tone for the music that brought his career to the height that it has reached today. While he included his current hits 'Big Green Tractor' and 'Tattoos on This Town,' he reached back in his repertoire to include past favorites including 'Hick Town' and 'Amarillo Sky.'
"It's great to be playing in our own backyard," Jason said after singing a few songs. "We're going to have some fun tonight, so drink up! We want you guys to have a good time."
The singer interacted with his audience from a stage that allowed him to sing to all sides of the arena. "This is the first time we've had you guys behind us," he told the audience on the backside of the stage as he ran up the ramp to play in front of them. He had ramps on each side, making full use of them to give the entire audience as close-up of an experience as he could.
At one point, Jason and special guest Luke Bryan threaded their way through the audience to the satellite stage, where they did an acoustic set. "Thought we'd come out here and let you guys get a good look at us," Jason said to the crowd at the far end of the arena, which was met with thunderous applause.
"We want to use this time to pay tribute to some of the singers that we grew up listening to and who influenced us," Jason said. "I wanted to have Tracy Lawrence come out tonight but he was out of town. This was one of my favorite tunes." The two then launched into 'Time Marches On,' to the delight of the crowd, who immediately started singing along.
Their next choice, Alabama's 'Love in the First Degree,' stopped the two singers dead in their tracks when an animal print bra was thrown onstage. Both cracked up and while trying to get their composure, Luke asked Jason if he knew what song they were singing. "I have no idea," replied Jason, who was still laughing. They finally recovered enough to finish the song, after which Luke sang his own 'We Rode in Trucks,' at a request from buddy Jason.
In an earlier interview, Jason told The Boot that he would be in great shape when the tour was over because he got quite a workout running up and down the ramps. It was easy to see what he meant by that statement, because the country superstar never let up on trying to make sure everyone had a chance to see him and feel like they were a part of the show.
Jason rounded out the evening with his duet with Kelly, 'My Kinda Party' and 'She's Country.' The crowd was not ready to see the show end and Jason was happy to oblige, coming back out to perform 'Dirt Road Anthem' and 'Hick Town.'
Lauren Alaina opened the evening, noting to the audience that the first time she performed at the arena was when she auditioned for 'American Idol.' She was followed by Luke, who gave the crowd a good-time show with hits including 'Rain Is a Good Thing,' 'Do I' and 'All My Friends Say.' He had the audience shaking it on 'Country Girl (Shake It for Me),' and he did a few dance moves of his own, which drew appreciative applause, throughout his show.
Jason told The Boot that he wanted his fans to get their money's worth when they came to see his show. No doubt they left Bridgestone Arena Friday night thinking it was worth every penny.