CMA Fest Day 1: 5 Moments You Missed Including a Post Malone-Blake Shelton Duet and Lynyrd Skynyrd with Billy Gibbons

CMA Fest in Nashville might be the largest country music festival in the world, but this year, Rock And Roll Hall of Famers bookended day one. Dolly Parton opened the day with an extensive conversation at Fan Fair X, where she solidified plans for an upcoming musical, new wine, a hotel, and more. And the day ended with Lynyrd Skynyrd closing the star-packed nightly shows at Nissan Stadium.

Artists scheduled to appear at Nissan Stadium Thursday evening included Reyna Roberts, Craig Morgan, Jordan Davis, Ashley McBryde, Thomas Rhett, Shaboozey, Thomas Rhett and Lynyrd Skynyrd. However, several high-profile special guests popped up – and some of those superstars brought more superstars with them.

For those who couldn’t make it out to the first night of CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium, here are five moments you missed.

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CMA Fest at Nissan Stadium: 5 Moments You Missed

Ashley McBryde Welcomes Gretchen Wilson

Ashley McBryde is a stunning marriage of glamour and grit. She’s one of country music’s most articulate and accomplished storytellers. But McBryde also isn’t afraid to crank up the electric guitar. McBryde is enchanting – and with what seems to be her patented combination of heartfelt and raucous,  she tore through songs including “Light On In The Kitchen,” Martha Divine” and “The Devil I Know,” commanding Nissan Stadium like it was built for her.

When Wilson joined her on stage for “Redneck Woman,” the hell-raising, trailblazing women took turns on the song’s verses as the crowd shouted the lyrics along with them. Women in the audience jumped up and started dancing to Wilson’s hit, which upturned country music in 2004.
The Redneck Woman will be back to play her own set at Nissan Stadium tonight.

Thomas Rhett’s Wife Gets a Shout-Out at Nissan Stadium During CMA Fest

Thomas Rhett was every authentic inch of the country star and family man that he is on stage Friday night. He wore a guitar strap emblazoned with his oldest daughter Willa’s name in turquoise and frequently jumped off the stage to slap hands and take selfies with fans during his set which included “oldies” as he called them, “Make Me Wanna,” “Die A Happy Man” and “Crash and Burn” along with newer hits “Half Of Me” and “Mamaw’s House.” But it was the singer’s sweet dedication to his wife before “Beautiful As You” that made the female half of the audience swoon.

“I’ve got four beautiful baby girls under the age of 8,” Thomas Rhett told fans. “Needless to say, the last few years have been kind of challenging to get my wife and my kids on the road because of school. But my wife is here tonight, and I’m so excited because this is the first time she’s got to see this song played live. I wrote this song about her. If you know this song, sing along. If you don’t, just dance with someone that you love.”

Is that Post Malone at CMA Fest?

When Thomas Rhett finished his set, much of the audience seemed to leave as there was only one reported act left. However, those who vacated missed two of the night’s most unexpected moments.
Lynyrd Skynyrd was Thursday night’s closer; however, another rocker popped on stage after Thomas Rhett.

Post Malone emerged on the satellite stage in the middle of the audience on the stadium’s floor. He ripped into a solo version of “I Had Some Help,” which usually features Morgan Wallen. However, Wallen wasn’t present. Post Malone wasn’t afraid to mingle with country fans, either. He jumped off the stage and walked through the crowd, much to the delight of those within arm’s reach.

Post Malone Surprises with Blake Shelton

As if Post Malone’s appearance wasn’t enough of an unannounced shocker, he told fans he’s working on an album and then introduced Blake Shelton to sing with him. The pair dueted on a song called “Pour Me A Drink,” which sounds like it could have come from any of Shelton’s albums, yet it is officially Malone’s song.

The men embraced at the end of the rousing alcoholic anthem.

Lynyrd Skynyrd with Billy Gibbons

Lynyrd Skynyrd isn’t a name country fans typically see at CMA Fest, but it was clear the audience is definitely used to singing the band’s songs. The band ripped through favorites including “What’s Your Name,” “That Smell,” “The Ballad of Curtis Loew,” “Gimme Three Steps,” “Simple Man” and “Sweet Home Alabama.” The group’s surprise of the night came when they brought out fellow Rock And Roll Hall of Famer Billy Gibbons, from ZZ Top, to play “They Call Me The Breeze.”

Want more CMA Fest? The CMA Fest TV special will air on ABC on Tuesday, June 25 at 8/7c. It will be available to stream the next day on Hulu. Hosted by Jelly Roll and Ashley McBryde, the special is one you won’t want to miss, featuring the best performances and never-before-seen moments from the four-day event.

(Photo by John Shearer/Getty Images for CMA)

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