July 21, 2009 — Rascal Flatts headlined at historic Wrigley Field, Keith Urban played the landmark Staples Center, Faith Hill performed with the symphony at storied Hollywood Bowl. If Sugarland could have just made it to Kenny Chesney's show at AT&T Park in San Francisco, it would've been an incredible live weekend for country music.
Oh, that's right, all those shows took place in large and/or significant venues, all on the same weekend, even without the reigning Vocal Duo of the Year. It was still an incredible live weekend for country.
Here are the high points for the genre's just-played concert jumble:
• Rascal Flatts was the primary draw in the first-ever country concert at Wrigley, the home of the Chicago Cubs baseball team. The band sold out 37,000 seats for the show, which also featured Country Music Hall of Fame member Vince Gill and Darius Rucker, both of whom took part in the Rascals' set. Vince c ame back out and joined the band in a rendition of his hit "Whenever You Come Around." Darius appeared for the encore and teamed with Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney for the Hootie + The Blowfish hit "Hold My Hand" and Flatts' "Life Is A Highway."
• Sugarland actually backed out of two shows: Kenny Chesney's date in Northern California and Keith Urban's gig in SoCal. The duo is currently recording its next album in Atlanta with producer Byron Gallimore, and Jennifer Nettles — who's had to bag a number of shows because of vocal problems over the last year — was forced to do so once again. In a video apology posted online Monday, Jennifer told fans she was "very disappointed" by the cancellations. "I blew my voice," she added, with Kristian Bush seated beside her. "It's like a muscle. It's like another part of your body that, if you sprain it or strain it, you have to heal it or you will break it." She promised Sugarland would return to the road soon and "rock your faces off."
• With Sugarland out of the lineup, Miranda Lambert and Lady Antebellum played longer sets in San Francisco on Saturday for 36,000 fans. The venue had plenty of other music to offer, too. Radio station KBWF (The Wolf) hosted a concert outside the venue, according to Country Aircheck, featuring Brady Seals, Justin Moore, Love And Theft and Trailer Choir.
• Sugarland's cancellation meant an extra date for Lady A as the band took over the opening slot for Keith Urban on Sunday. The audience for the show included Keith's wife, Nicole Kidman, The Los Angeles Times reported.
• Faith Hill played the Hollywood Bowl on Friday and Saturday, her first full concerts of 2009. Backed by an orchestra, she laced the first evening with a ton of hits, including "This Kiss," "Wild One," "There'll You Be" and "The Way You Love Me," according to The Orange County Register. She also inserted covers of Aretha Franklin's "Dr. Feelgood," Simon & Garfunkel's "Bridge Over Troubled Water" and Paul McCartney's "Maybe I'm Amazed."
• Kid Rock played Saturday and Sunday at Detroit's Comerica Park, attracting 40,000 people each night, Billboard reported. He played music from the album he's working on with producer Rick Rubin. He also introduced his American Badass Beer.