Powerfully standing in front of an illuminated heart backdrop to a rapturous standing ovation, Black River Entertainment’s KELSEA BALLERINI personified loss, life – and especially love – during her headlining debut at Nashville’s Ryman Auditorium Wednesday night (2/14).
Wearing UNAPOLOGETICALLY song titles boldly emblazoned across her bedazzled custom tunic, Ballerini epitomized all of the “blood, sweat, and heartbeats” her critically acclaimed sophomore album was personally made with. “Each song was an album cut,” The Tennessean noted of her chronological setlist, “but audiences sang the words as surely as if each song were a hit.”
Despite fighting the flu, Ballerini thrived from the palpable energy of the sold-out Mother Church, with tunes such as the anthemic title track and the lyrically cheeky “I Hate Love Songs” resonating perfectly with the lovestruck holiday. Celebrating her first Valentine’s Day as a married woman, she also welcomed her husband, MORGAN EVANS (Warner Music Nashville), as a surprise guest. Introducing an unreleased song by Evans titled “Dance With Me,” he sweetly admitted that it was the first song he had penned for Ballerini just six weeks after dating. The fitting duet marked the first time the couple has publicly performed together.
The history-making Country superstar ended her milestone show with a stirring encore of her PLATINUM-certified, landmark #1 smash hit, “Love Me Like You Mean It,” from her GOLD-certified, breakout album THE FIRST TIME. Stripped from the “bells and whistles,” Ballerini returned to her pure singer-songwriter roots with only her acoustic guitar to accompany her. “I want it to be me and you, because it’s always been me and you,” she humbly shared onstage, before leading an impassioned sing-along off-mic in closing.
Back on the road Friday (2/16), Ballerini will continue THE UNAPOLOGETICALLY TOUR at Ruth Eckerd Hall in Clearwater, FL, before headlining Universal Orlando Resort’s Mardi Gras celebration Saturday (2/17) inside the Music Plaza in Orlando, FL. Guests with a park ticket or Annual Pass are expected to enjoy a lively constellation-themed parade with performances by bands from the Big Easy prior to showtime.
With 12 cities sold out, limited tickets remain for the nationwide trek in Clearwater, FL (2/16), Columbus, OH (2/22), and Santa Barbara, CA (4/25). Ballerini is also slated for big international appearances during C2C: Country to Country 2018 in London, United Kingdom (3/9) and Dublin, Ireland (3/11); CMC Rocks in Ipswich, Australia (3/17 and 3/18); and a continuation of THE UNAPOLOGETICALLY TOUR with a sold-out stop at Metro Theatre in Sydney, Australia (3/20).
For more information on KELSEA BALLERINI and VIP Experiences for THE UNAPOLOGETICALLY TOUR, visit KelseaBallerini.com and reach out to her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Fans can also follow along the tour with #KB2TOUR.
Announced dates, cities, and venues of THE UNAPOLOGETICALLY TOUR to date:
2/16 – Clearwater, FL – Ruth Eckerd Hall+ 2/22 – Columbus, OH – Express Live!+ 2/23 – Milwaukee, WI – Riverside Theater+ 2/24 – Des Moines, IA – Hoyt Sherman Place+ 3/20 – Sydney, Australia – Metro Theatre++ 4/5 – New York, NY – PlayStation Theater+ 4/6 – Sayreville, NJ – Starland Ballroom+ 4/7 – Richmond, VA – The National+ 4/19 – Portland, OR – Crystal Ballroom+ 4/20 – Spokane, WA – Knitting Factory+ 4/21 – Seattle, WA – Showbox SoDo+ 4/25 – Santa Barbara, CA – Arlington Theatre+ 4/27 – Indio, CA – Stagecoach Festival
+ Special guest Walker Hayes ++ Special guest Ryan Follese