MOLINE -- My, my, my Rascal Flatts and The Band Perry -- you've done it again!
The two larger-than-life bands (along with cute-as-a-button Kristen Kelly) took the i wireless Center by storm Friday night, bringing down a house filled with a sold-out crowd of about 9,000 fans.
Ms. Kelly took the stage at 7:30 p.m. with a "What's up, Quad-Cities? How ya'll doin'?"
She shook her shoulder-length curls as she strutted around the stage in her knee-high black boots, warming up the crowd with a quick 20-minute set.
She did an excellent job of working the H-shaped stage, rattling through songs including "Drink Myself Out Of Love With You," "He Loves to Make Me Cry" and the sassy crowd-favorite,"Ex-Old Man."
As Ms. Kelly played, the audience slowly trickled in. By the time she blew a kiss to the crowd and The Band Perry took the stage just after 8 p.m., the crowd had nearly reached the rafters.
Three screens played a little skit before the sibling trio hit the stage. Then, the screens blasted a countdown from 10.
"Hello, Illinois!" shouted Kimberly Perry, as the three took center stage.
The band played a handful of new songs, including "Better Dig Two," and a slew of their hits including "You Lie," which dripped with goose bump-giving harmonies; "All Your Life," which was sandwiched between The Lumineers' "Ho Hey," and "I Will Always Love You," by Dolly Parton, and performed by Whitney Houston; the haunting "If I Die Young" and the Queen cover "Fat Bottomed Girls."
The band also held a little audience singing competition with "Postcard From Paris."
Ms. Perry said she wanted the group to be a family for the evening and forget about to-do lists, troubles and bills.
Well, I certainly did.
I've seen The Band Perry play several times in the Quad-Cities, and this show by far had the most energy. At one point, the three simultaneously switched between jumping and headbanging, which may sound cheesy, but they definitely pulled it off.
As the clock neared 9 p.m., it seemed the band was leaving the stage far too soon.
But that only meant it was almost time for Rascal Flatts.
Light-up beaded curtains sank down slowly from the ceiling over the stage, creating perfect tunnels to surround bassist Jay DeMarcus, guitarist Joe Don Rooney and lead vocalist Gary LeVox.
They sang a bit of "Changed," and the beaded curtains illuminated to the beat of their voices.
Soon, the beads returned to the ceiling and a black curtain at the back of the stage dropped to reveal several light-up panels and five light-up cubes that descended from the ceiling.
"How's everybody feeling?" Mr. LeVox shouted to the crowd, and it roared back in response.
After the "Changed" snippet, the revved up the crowd with "Banjo." Ear-splitting cheers would punctuate the tunes for the entirety of the band's more than hour-and-a-half-long set.
It. Was. Awesome.
They brought "Summer Nights" to the excellently-mild January evening, and songs that just made you feel good like "Fast Cars and Freedom."
Mr. LeVox made his way around the stage in his wonderfully-bedazzled jeans, playfully interacting with his band mates and the crowd.
Out of all of the shows I have been to, country, rock or otherwise, I have never before seen a band treat an audience like Rascal Flatts treats theirs.
Not only did Mr. LeVox sing the bulk of "I'm Movin' On" while holding a gal's hand in the audience, he went down into the crowd on the floor to get her later on in the show. He brought her up on stage to dance and sing with him to "What Hurts The Most."
During a few songs, Mr. Rooney hung out with a little boy in the front row and signed his tiny guitar. Mr. LeVox signed it, too.
To top it off, they band took requests from the audience. The guys said they have played in the Quad-Cities several times, and they wanted to be sure someone didn't leave without hearing their favorite Rascal Flatts song.
To remedy, they played little snippets including "My Wish," "I'm Movin' On" and "Praying For Daylight."
The three also somehow managed to work in "Life Is A Highway," "These Days," "Bless the Broken Road," "Stand," "Me and My Gang" and more.
Mr. DeMarcus said the band has played in the Quad-Cities seven times -- just one performance short of Reba McEntire.
"That means we'll be back next year," he said, and the crowd went nuts.
He said the group had talked about where they shouldkick-off the "Changed Tour," and they decided to play their second night in "one of our favorite places to play -- Moline, Quad-Cities!"
Other high points of the show includea wicked drum solo by Jim Riley, a guitar solo by Mr. Rooney, a cellphone video filmed by Mr. Rooney (when the crowd was asked to "say hello to Europe!"), and several autographs signed by those nearest to the stage.
The group closed with a medley of covers, including Kansas' "Carry On, My Wayward Son."
"We had a great time in the Quad-Cities," Mr. LeVox shouted to the crowd.
Today is Sunday, March 9, the 68th day of 2014. There are 297 days left in the year. 1864 -- 150 years ago: Much damage is being done to sidewalks, shade trees, fences and gardens by hogs that are running at large about town. 1889 -- 125 years ago: H.C. Cleveland was elected air knight captain of Rock Island Division Uniform Rank Knights of Pythias. 1914 -- 100 years ago: B.W. Wilson, authority on birds and their habits, spoke at the weekly luncheon at the Rock Island Club. 1939 -- 75 years ago: The famous Dionne quintuplets have been invited to visit King George and Queen Elizabeth in Toronto on May 22, but Papa Dionne thinks their majesties should include the Callander nursery in their tour. 1964 -- 50 years ago: Ever been smothered by funny stuff? Well more than 2,600 people were last night when two boys named Tom and Dick Smothers took a "rocky, twisting road to folk music" in Davenport Masonic Temple. 1989 -- 25 years ago: Moline residents soon may be asked to recycle part of their garbage and might even get paid for it.