Florida Georgia Line draws record crowd

YOUNGSTOWN — Florida Georgia line delivered a special message to the massive crowd packed into Youngstown State University’s Stambaugh Stadium Saturday night. Then they just delivered.

“This is amazing,” Brian Kelley said from the giant stage, positioned on the football field against the smaller east side stands. “You guys should be proud of something because we were just told this afternoon that you guys created a record here in Youngstown. This is the biggest social gathering in all of the history of Youngstown!”

The pop-country superstar duo was performing at the second annual Y-Live concert event. This year’s JAC Management Group-promoted show brought in more than 20,000 fans, topping last year’s turnout of about 15,000 for Zac Brown Band in August 2017.

Welcoming the opportunity to see the popular Florida Georgia Line and no doubt pleased with Saturday’s perfect weather, fans started rolling into the tailgate lots early in the day. The big turnout was due in large part to Florida Georgia Line’s broad appeal to both country and pop fans because of their many crossover hits like “Cruise,” which they recorded with rapper Nelly, and “Meant to Be,” also a duet recorded with pop singer Bebe Rexha.

Rexha’s obvious absence from the stage during Saturday’s performance of “Meant to Be” left no void, however. Musicians Tyler Hubbard and Brian Kelley simply allowed the crowd of about 20,000 to fill in on Rexha’s part.

The odd scene inside Stambaugh Stadium — typically filled with football fans sporting red and black Penguins gear under stadium lights — was lit instead by a flood of hundreds of cellphone lights during the performance of “Shine On.” Spotlights flooded down on the stage from atop the YSU press box perched above the grandstand. The roar of the crowd was complemented by sounding horns from vehicles passing on the adjacent highway and the periodic cry of “Go ‘Guins!” from the crowd.

But overall, this night was all about the music.

Hubbard and Kelley did little talking throughout the night, and rather got right down to business performing their big hits that included “Cruise,” “How We Roll,” “H.O.L.Y,” “Unconditionally,” “It’z Just What We Do,” “Round Here,” “Smooth,” “Confession” and “May We All.”

They opened the show on a Saturday night singing about Friday night with hit “Anything Goes,” and later performed “Sun Daze.”