Carly Pearce and Russell Dickerson Kick Off Their Co-Headlining Tour With a Rousing Performance at House of Blues

Concert Review


Downtown Cleveland’s freezing cold temperatures couldn’t deter country artists Carly Pearce and Russell Dickerson from throwing the party of a lifetime when they kicked off their co-headlining tour at House of Blues last night.

The Way Back Tour has been a dream of Pearce’s and Dickerson’s since they were young, unsigned country music hopefuls. The pair met playing a small club in Nashville a decade ago, but now they’ve earned spots as country music royalty.

“Careless,” a heart-on-your-sleeve ballad devoted to not making the same mistake twice, got Pearce’s set off to a strong start as she showcased her strong vocal talent.

When Pearce paused between songs, fans began requesting to see the recently engaged singer’s engagement ring.

“I could show you my ring,” Pearce said slyly. “Or I could say, Cleveland, I have a surprise for you!”

Michael Ray, Pearce’s fiancé and fellow country music star, then joined her onstage for a romantic rendition of “When You Say Nothing At All.”

Pearce is the sort of songwriter that can illustrate things in three minutes that most people can’t verbalize in a lifetime. Her latest album, Every Little Thing, is full of heartfelt masterpieces, including the title track, which the crowd sang every word to.

“I wrote this song about a guy that broke my heart and never did I think that it would bring me everything I ever wanted,” Pearce said of “Every Little Thing,” her independently released first No. 1 single.

Before playing the understated “If My Name Was Whiskey,” Pearce told the crowd that the inspiration for this track came from her childhood heroes, the female forces in country in the late '90s and early 2000s like Shania Twain and Sheryl Crow.

Pearce closed her set on a high note with “Hide the Wine,” the catchiest track on her debut record with a killer reoccurring guitar riff and lyrics about resisting the allure of a toxic lover, as she sipped from a red solo cup.

Dickerson took the stage after a showy interlude of pre-mixed dance beats, smoke machines, strobe lights and his infamous chant “Ain’t no party like an RD party 'cause an RD party don’t stop!”

The Tennessee native kept that energy throughout his entire set, dancing like crazy to hip-hop infused beats and jumping into the crowd at the end of his set.

When Dickerson played, “Billions,” a group of young girls in the front row threw monopoly dollar bills onstage, much to Dickerson's delight.

Dickerson kept the party going with the brand new “Something to Dance to,” a classic country drinking anthem.

He then brushed his guitar and his moves aside and took to the piano for a lengthy medley of songs that shaped his life.

Everything from Justin Bieber’s “Baby” to Usher’s “U Got it Bad” and Tim McGraw’s “She’s My Kind of Rain” was sampled. Dickerson detailed each cover with a short story of what made it significant to him at a particular period in his life.

This portion of the show felt more like your uncle’s back porch jam than a production for a few thousand people. Within the course of an hour, Dickerson managed to create true intimacy and a club-like atmosphere.

Dickerson closed with his first number one single, “Yours,” which was also released independently and held the top spot within six weeks of Pearce’s independent triumph.

During the encore, Dickerson brought Pearce back up on stage, and the two covered Shania Twain’s “You’re Still the One,” a nod to how far they’ve come together.

“We always dreamed of a moment where we could do something like this,” Pearce said of her very first headlining show.

The duo has been through every trial of the music industry together, so it’s only fitting that they enjoy the view from the top together.

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