The Soul2Soul World Tour 2017 lived up to every bit of the hype, as Tim McGraw and Faith Hill turned in an outstanding performance at Citizens Business Bank Arena in Ontario Saturday night (July 22nd).
The tour, the couple’s first together in ten years, features a different opening act for nearly every city visited, and the Inland Empire audience was treated to the Americana sound of Rhiannon Giddens. A member of the Grammy-winning Carolina Chocolate Raindrops, country audiences are likely most familiar with her as Eric Church‘s duet partner on “Kill a Word.” Highlights from her stunning set included “We Could Fly” (for which she played fiddle on) from her most recent solo album Freedom Highway, based on an African-American folk tale, and her passionate cover of Patsy Cline‘s “She’s Got You.”
Scrims came down on the stage prior to the headliners, a clock counting down the final 60 seconds before Tim McGraw and wife Faith Hill made their first appearance. A recording of Sister Sledge’s “We Are Family” preceded their first song, a cover of George Michael and Aretha Franklin’s “I Knew You Were Waiting for Me” (perhaps a nod to the married country superstars’ most recent duet, “Speak to a Girl,” in which Faith sings, “She wants Aretha….”). They traded off singing their individual hits for roughly the first third of their set (as well as singing background for each other), before launching into a couple of new songs from their forthcoming album of duets: the intense “Break First” (they finished the song with a staring contest, in which Faith “lost.” One gets the impression that they play this game at every stop on their tour to see who “wins”), and “Telluride” (not to be confused with an earlier Tim McGraw single of the same title).
For “Like We Never Loved at All,” the scrim was once again lowered, this time, between them, representing the gulf between the lovers described in the emotional song.
The second third of the show was comprised of Faith songs, including the first single she released to radio, “Wild One” (for which she changed the lyric, “His name is Bill” to “His name is Tim!”), album cuts “Stronger” and “Free” (“Don’t you ever stop fighting for what you believe in!” Faith admonished the girls in the audience) and smash hits like “Breathe,” “This Kiss,” and “Piece of My Heart.” She also performed “The Lucky One,” which could not have been more appropriate for the hot Southern California summer night. Noticing a little girl in the audience excitedly gripping her mother as the youngster realized they were on the concert screen, Faith waved and told her, “Don’t you ever stop hugging your momma like that, girl!”, a poignant moment, even in its lightheartedness, considering Faith lost her own mother late last year.
They transitioned seamlessly into a set of Tim McGraw songs, starting with the Bruce Robison penned “Angry All the Time,” for which Faith sang backing vocals on, then disappeared for a wardrobe change while Tim performed a solid selection of music from his more recent catalog, “One of Those Nights,” “Shotgun Rider,” and “Humble and Kind,” pausing to lead the crowd in a round of “Happy Birthday” to band member Billy. For his classic “I Like It I Love It,” he changed the lyric of “Braves” to “Dodgers,” a nod to Southern California.
Tim performed the audience favorite “Live Like You Were Dying” before Faith’s arrival back on stage for “Speak to a Girl,” followed by the ever-romantic “It’s Your Love,” as family photos of Tim, Faith, and their three daughters flashed on screen.
Faith made her way through the audience for “Mississippi Girl,” and Tim did the same for “Something Like That,” before the encore, “I Need You,” for which the couple sat intimately facing each other, their hands intimately on each other’s knees, as a riser lifted them above stage level. Tim again made a reference to the West Coast, moving the location of “Uncle Joe” so the lyric became “Just like Uncle Joe in California needs the rain.”
Having just celebrated their 20th anniversary, Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are definitely worthy of #RelationshipGoals, but perhaps even sweeter than the legendary romance between these two superstars, was the love of the elderly couple sitting in the row in front of me. “We’re 75-ish,” the gentleman told me, who had his arm wrapped around his wife’s waist the entire time (except for when he was taking pictures). He went on to explain that this was his first concert ever, and that he had brought his wife for her birthday, knowing that she was a fan of “The Blind Side,” which Tim starred in.
It was a magical night to celebrate love, especially right in front of me.
- I Knew You Were Waiting for Me (George Michael/Aretha Franklin cover)
- Felt Good On My Lips
- The Lucky One
- I Like It, I Love It
- The Way You Love Me
- Like We Never Loved at All
- Break First
- This Kiss
- Wild One
- Piece of My Heart
- Angry All the Time
- One of Those Nights
- Real Good Man
- Happy Birthday
- Shotgun Rider
- Humble and Kind
- Live Like You Were Dying
- Speak to a Girl
- It’s Your Love
- Mississippi Girl
- Something Like That
- I Need You