LAS VEGAS – For the past four years, the Academy of Country Music has taken advantage of having a flotilla of country artists in Las Vegas for the annual ACM Awards to tape a special the following night that airs several weeks later.
The previous quartet of specials have paid homage to George Strait, Brooks & Dunn, The Women of Country Music, and Lionel Richie. This year, they opted for something a little different: for Monday night’s taping: “ACM Presents: Tim McGraw”s Superstar Summer Night” features the country star performing a number of his hits, including “One of Those Nights” and “Felt Good On My Lips” (with Pitbull), but instead of the other artists playing their favorite McGraw songs, they play their own material.
“This is my personal playlist, live and onstage,” McGraw said, by way of explanation at the start of the 3:40 minute taping. Though much of the playlist concentrated on artists” current hits such as The Band Perry with “Done” and Jason Aldean with “1994,” plenty of other acts performed older tunes, such as Keith Urban with “Long Hot Summer”; McGraw himself, who threw in a jaunty “Something Like That,” and his wife, Faith Hill, who sung her breakthrough hit, her cover of “Piece of My Heart.”
During one set changeover, McGraw serenaded the audience an a capella version of George Strait”s “You Look So Good In Love,” and the score of the Louisville – Michigan NCAA championship game.
The highlights included Ne-Yo and McGraw duetting on “She Is,” which the two recorded originally for Ne-Yo”s current album, “R.E.D.,” and watching John Fogerty and Keith Urban have a guitar shoot out on show closer “Born On The Bayou,” along with McGraw, Jason Aldean, and Luke Bryan, who were looking on, admiring the pyrotechnics. Other artists on the bill included Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line and Brantley Gilbert.
“ACM Presents: Tim McGraw”s Superstar Summer Night” airs May 19 on CBS