Darius Rucker best known as the founder and frontman of Hootie and the Blowfish made his debut in Bemidji, Minnesota at Sanford Center Thursday night along with a few of his friends, David Nail and A Thousand Horses on the Southern Style tour.
Rucker, 49, has been able to reignite his career with a new start in country music when he arrived on the scene in 2008 signing to Capitol Nashville; he amassed several No. 1’s with his breakout hit “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It,” “It Won’t Be Like This For Long,” “Alright,” “Come Back Song,” and “This.” Before Rucker would take the stage, the summer’s biggest breakout country group A Thousand Horses would open the show. The group has only been around for a short time and has already managed to top the country charts with their hit “Smoke.”
A short time later rising artist David Nail would entertain the crowd. Nail has already had some charting hits with “Let It Rain” and “Whatever She’s Got” reaching No. 1.
Next up the massive curtain with Darius Rucker’s logo would fall to the ground revealing spectacular lights and full band members on stage but no sign of Rucker, however they suddenly heard his voice and they went wild. Rucker walked on stage very causally and began with “Lighter Up” walking back and forth out onto the catwalk that extended about a third into the crowd, touching hands on the way. The crowd was pleased when he included some of his biggest Hootie and The Blowfish hits in the mix like “Hold My Hand”, “Let Her Cry,” “Time,” and “Only Wanna Be With You.”
Rucker had some great set up changes with a few acoustic numbers he performed out on the catwalk facing both directions so that the people in back and front could have an opportunity to see the star up close. (There was a pit area directly in front of the stage where people were on the both sides of the catwalk for this reason). For “Hold My Hand,” Rucker brought out Nail and A Thousand Horses with each taking a stanza or two in the song. Rucker’s’ voice was as smooth as the baritone people remembered from the “Hootie” days where his signature drawl could instantly be recognized anywhere.
As Rucker gazed out in the crowd with that authentic smile of his, he graciously thanked them for allowing him to continue to do this year after year. Rucker would go into “Wagon Wheel” and when he finished he said this normally is how the show ends, but since this is Minnesota, he will perform one last song. A short time later a familiar guitar intro would send this crowd into a frenzy as he performed “Purple Rain” giving homage to Minnesota’s own legend, Prince.
Overall the tour was the perfect balance of Southern Charm having a little bit of something for everyone. Rucker and crew will officially wrap Nov. 20 in Toledo, Ohio.
Southern Style Tour, Bemidji, MN Set list
Good for a Good Time
All I Want
Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It
Back When (Tim McGraw)
No Diggity (Blackstreet)
It Won’t Be Like This For Long
History in the Making
Only Wanna Be With You (H&BF)
East Bound and Down (Jerry Reed)
Let Her Cry (H&BF)
Come Back Song
Hold My Hand (H&BF) (with David Nail & A Thousand Horses)
So I Sang
Purple Rain (Prince)