Chris Stapleton’s spectacular Kroger Field concert was worth the two year delay

Chris Stapleton performs during his “A Concert for Kentucky” on Saturday, April 23, 2022, at Kroger Field in Lexington, Kentucky. Photo by Michael Clubb | Staff

Jack Weaver

After two years of postponements, Chris Stapleton finally took the stage in Lexington Saturday night for the first ever concert at Kroger Field.

Stapleton’s “A Concert for Kentucky” was originally scheduled for April 2020, and was canceled twice due to COVID-19. On Saturday night, the elements came together to make a spectacular show that was well worth the wait.

“I’m in awe of how many of you’ve stuck on to tickets and stuck with us to get here tonight,” he told the crowd. “Thank you, it means the world to me.”

It felt like summer at Kroger Field thanks to a clear sky and temperatures in the high 70s to mid 80s. Despite the usual traffic, there seemed to be no flaws with the setup at Kroger Field.

The massive stage was set up in the west end zone, with 15 sections of fans on the field. The sound quality was impressive, as was Stapleton’s performance.

He started off strong, taking the stage and satisfying the built up anticipation of fans to “Nobody to Blame” and “Parachute,” both from his 2015 album “Traveller.”

Performing alongside Stapleton was his wife, Morgane Stapleton. Of the songs they performed together, “Starting Over” was especially heartfelt, as the long video board above the stage provided a visual of the two singing to each other.

Stapleton later took the time to perform a handful of songs solo as he gave his band a break, starting with “What Are You Listening To?” and making his way to “Traveller,” a song that showed off both the excellent acoustics and Stapleton’s impressive ability to perform live.

Towards the end of his two hour set, Stapleton performed “Fire Away” as the phone lit stadium sang along in an experience powerful enough to give you goosebumps.

Before Stapleton’s set, a much older music icon, Willie Nelson, took the stage. At 88 years old, Nelson’s ability to perform live was better than to be expected. He performed for nearly an hour straight without taking a break.

It took Nelson a few songs to get going. His vocals warmed up as the evening cooled down and the sun set behind the stadium, casting a comfortable shadow across the packed upper deck.

Seated on a stool, Nelson strummed away on his ragged guitar as fans sang along to songs such as “Mamas Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up to Be Cowboys” and “On The Road Again.”

Nelson got the crowd laughing as he performed “Write Your Own Songs.” He also performed “I’ll Fly Away” with Sheryl Crow, who opened before Nelson and after the first opener, Madeline Edwards.

Stapleton’s homecoming show proved Kroger Field to be an excellent concert venue, paving the way for hopefully more concerts in the home of the Wildcats.