By Anthony Donatelli

The Rhythm and Roots Tour was in full swing Saturday night (7/9) as Rascal Flatts took the stage one final time at Irvine Meadows.

As a giant black curtain came falling from the top of the stage, bright lights, big video screens and one familiar looking country group appeared from nowhere.

The boys kicked off the night by doing what they do best and that’s playing country music. They led off with “Summer Nights” and “I Like the Sound of That” followed by plenty of other crowd favorites.

“We brought something with us you might like,” lead singer Gary LeVox teased to the fans. “It’s called a banjo.” To no surprise, the song following that buildup was indeed “Banjo.”

As much as the band played around with the Orange County crowd, including a bra making it’s way on stage and becoming the topic of conversation for a majority of the show, Jay DeMarcus stepped up shed some light on the recent tragic happenings in the world.

“If you turn on the news, there’s a lot of crap going on,” DeMarcus said. “You can start losing faith, but because of you great country fans, I know there is still light in this world. We need to start being color blind and have each other’s backs. There is nothing as Americans that we can’t overcome.”

“So for the next 90 minutes, we’re going to take a break from reality and party our [behinds] off!” DeMarcus powerfully said to the thousands of cheering fans.

Related: Irvine Meadows Had Dibs On Kelsea Ballerini Saturday Night [Setlist]

It was hard to find a single person who wasn’t singing along to classics like, “Life Is A Highway,” “Why Wait” and “Fast Cars and Freedom.”

For a quick moment, it sounded like the boys were going to start covering some Journey songs, but became playfully upset when the crowd shouted louder for those songs than the Rascal Flatts ones. Everyone got a good laugh and they compromised with a mashup of “Bless the Broken Road” and Journey’s” Open Arms.”

After a touching tribute to Prince and a photo slideshow of the guys during “Rewind,” Joe Don Rooney had a special surprise for one of his bandmates.

“We’re from Nashville and right now in Nashville, it’s midnight, which means it’s Gary LeVox’s birthday,” Rooney explained. The thousands in attendance sang happy birthday to Gary as he blew out the candles on the cake that was derived to him on stage.

You won’t find many people who have this much fun together as Rascal Flatts does. After 16 years of touring, and of course being related, you can tell that their chemistry together is some of the best you’ll ever find.

Summer Nights
I Like the Sound of That
Come Wake Me Up/I Melt/I Won’t Let Go
Life Is A Highway (Tom Cochrane cover)
Why Wait
Stand/In The Air
Bless The Broken Road/ Open Arms (Journey cover)
Fast Cars and Freedom
Purple Rain
Love You Out Loud
My Wish
Take Me There
What Hurts the Most (Jeffrey Steele cover)
Here’s To You
Me and My Gang


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