When Scotty McCreery performed in Templeton-Blackburn Alumni Memorial Auditorium , he opened with his 2013 song “Now.” This time, he was able to open with “Seasons Change,” the title song off his 2018 album.
That change in the opening song was not the only aspect different from his previous performances at Ohio University. His 8 p.m. Friday performance marked his first time playing at OU as a chart-topping artist for his single “Five More Minutes” and album Seasons Change.
“I think 2018 has been my favorite year of living so far,” McCreery said. “(The album and song hitting No. 1) was March, and as of June 16, I’m a married man.”
McCreery performed two songs he specifically talked about writing for his wife Gabi. In 2012, he wrote “See You Tonight,” and at the time they were dating. Before performing his most-recent single, “This Is It,” he talked about how he met his wife.
“We met our very first day of kindergarten class,” McCreery said. “In her kindergarten diary, she had ‘Gabi McCreery’ written all over it. I guess you could say it was a fate thing.”
McCreery had his eye on Gabi for a while, but it wasn’t until after he won reality singing competition American Idol in 2011 that he decided to ask her out. McCreery went back to high school after winning. He finally asked her on a date to BoJangles’ Famous Chicken ‘n Biscuits during their senior year.
“When she said yes to that, I knew it was a match made in heaven,” McCreery said.
Before McCreery started his set, up-and-coming artist Tenille Arts performed an all-acoustic setlist of her own songs, including “Rebel Child,” “Mad Crazy Love” and “Wildfire and Whiskey.”
“If you’re watching in January on Colton’s season, you’ll see me,” Arts said.
The musician also covered the Dixie Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” and ended her set with a rendition of Bon Jovi’s “You Give Love a Bad Name.”
When Arts’ 30-minute set was finished, McCreery came out and played four back-to-back songs, including a cover of Garth Brooks’ “Ain’t Goin’ Down (‘Til The Sun Comes Up).” At that point, he finally had the opportunity to introduce himself — and he did so jokingly.
“Allow me to introduce myself to you,” McCreery said. “My name is Luke Bryan.”
McCreery chose to cover some of his favorite country artists during his set. In a medley of classic country tunes, McCreery sang Conway Twitty’s “Hello, Darlin’,” Randy Travis’ “Forever and Ever, Amen,” Johnny Cash’s “Folsom Prison Blues,” Alan Jackson’s “Chattahoochee,” and John Michael Montgomery’s “Sold.”
Courtney Francis and Keith Tolliver, both from McArthur, liked McCreery’s performance of “Five More Minutes.” Tolliver said the song “hits you in the feels.”
“Everybody can connect with it no matter what it means,” Francis said.
During the performance of his first No. 1 song, McCreery paused the music to tell stories about his grandfather, who was the reason for writing the song. McCreery has enjoyed listening to fans’ reactions to the song and the stories that go with them.
“I know we all know what it means to love and to lose someone,” McCreery said. “If you all have a light, we can shine it those for those people.”
McCreery closed the evening with a mashup performance of “Movin’ On Out” and “Feelin’ It.” The audience didn’t want him to leave, so he came out for an encore of his Idol audition song, Josh Turner’s “Your Man.”
“We love you OU,” McCreery said. “Well see you all next time.”