Taking the stage as fans noshed on a Southern breakfast of eggs, sausage and homemade biscuits, the duo kicked things off with "Back When I Knew It All," then launched into a full-blown set of hits that included "Where I Come From," "Lucky Man," "Speed," "If You Ever Stop Loving Me," and several tracks from their latest CD, "Rebels on the Run." They gamely took requests from the crowd, but admitted there are plenty of tunes from their two-decade career they can't recall so well these days.
"At a lot of our shows on tour, they fine us if we go over the time limit that we're allowed to play, so we don't do a lot of these songs out on the road now," explained Eddie, when someone in the crowd yelled out a song request from years past.
"Another translation for you -- we don't remember s---!" added Troy, laughing. "My memory's gotten a lot worse since I stopped drinking ... It's supposed to be the other way around!"
The two hardly minded rolling through some of their back catalog for the avid audience though, as they see it as a way to say thanks to their friends who have consistently supported them in their career through thick and thin. "This show means a whole lot more and is a lot more special in the fact that these diehard fans have been around for as long as we've been around, and to be here today to play in front of these diehards, it means a lot man," said Troy. "They give up their time and their money to go out and buy our records and go to our shows, and come to town for this whole week, particularly to come see us at our fan club party, and this is a way for us to really say thank you from the bottom of our heart."
"And it's also a time for them to ask questions," says Eddie. "Maybe if there's something they don't know about us they can ask, and we kind of just get to hang with them more. Because most of the time when you do shows, you run in and do the show and you're off to the next town. So here we get to hang out with them all week and have a damn good time."
One fan in particular had an extraordinarily good time during the party, since he walked away with a custom motorcycle designed by Eddie and Troy with Demented Cycles. Henry Michaels from Long Island was the grand prize winner of the Golden Ticket promotion from the duo and found the lucky winning ticket for the cycle and trip to Nashville inside a copy of their new CD, Rebels on the Run. But even those fans who walked away with just an autograph, a picture, or a smile seemed thrilled at the time they were able to spend with the Kentucky duo as they met with fans individually following their hit-packed set.
Following their party, the duo officially kicked off CMA Music Fest in style with plenty of rebel attitude at their show this morning at the Riverfront Park downtown.