Dan + Shay Return to the Nashville Stage to Celebrate New Album: 'Our Favorite Show We've Ever Played'
Twice Dan Smyers asked the thousands of Nashville fans stretched before him to repeat, "Good things are coming!" Of course, everyone happily obliged, even though they knew — with Dan + Shay already onstage and a brand-new album out — good things, most assuredly, were already there.
Smyers, 34, and partner Shay Mooney, 29, took over the city's newly renovated Centennial Park on Friday night, setting up a massive outdoor stage beside the Parthenon to celebrate the same-day release of their fourth studio album, Good Things. The 12-track project arrived already certified gold, a first for a country record in the streaming era.
The hitmaking duo's return to a Nashville stage had been a long time coming — and even longer than Smyers himself thought. "I think it's been over 470 days since our last shows," he told the crowd of 10,000, all on their feet and blanketing the park's expansive lawn.
Actually, it was exactly 524 days since the second of Dan + Shay's two epic sold-out shows at Nashville's Bridgestone Arena in March 2020, both held less than a week before the pandemic yanked them off the road.
No matter how long the wait was, the Friday concert was more than worth it. For 90 electric minutes, the duo delivered a one-two punch of fan favorites and new material — 22 songs in all. Proceeds from the general admission show, which attracted a capacity crowd, went to support the Centennial Park Conservancy.
Last year, Dan + Shay were just three shows into their first arena tour when the plug was pulled, and the album-release concert seemed to confirm that fans will be getting an updated version once the tour restarts in September. Missing on Friday from last year's brief run was a four-song acoustic set of older album tracks. In its place were five cuts off the brand-new album (which Smyers produced), including "One Direction," "Lying," and title track "Good Things."
As before, the three-time ACM duo of the year recipients kicked off with an explosive performance of blockbuster hit "10,000 Hours" (also on the new album) and hardly stopped for breath as they powered through "All to Myself," "Nothin' Like You" and other hits.
The fans answered in force, singing along with every word. (But let's face it, following along with the golden-voiced Mooney is not unlike trying to join Simone Biles on a double-twisting backflip. Good luck with that.)
After the sixth song, Smyers could no longer contain his glee and finally paused to speak to the rapt crowd. "We're supposed to be professionals up here and keep this show going, but I'm literally shaking right now," he said. "I literally have goosebumps right now from seeing everybody ... This is unbelievable, man."
By then, his and Mooney's euphoria was already obvious as the two repeatedly traded wide grins and embraces, and Mooney kept crumpling to his knees.
"This is absolutely insane, man," Mooney told the audience at one point. "You guys are literally bringing me to my knees right now. Nashville, I can't thank you guys enough for bringing live music back for us. Man, this is such a celebration!"
The two kept the joy going with audience participation: Beach balls bounced overhead for a buoyant "Steal My Love" — another new cut — and an en masse phone-flashlight display was ordered up to add to the sparkle of "Speechless."
The duo also delighted with a cover of Bill Withers' 1972 classic, "Lean on Me," perhaps inspired by the hardships of the past year. They threw an unexpected curve with current hot single, "Glad You Exist," highlighting Mooney's voice even more with only Smyers' guitar as accompaniment. For their latest No. 1, "I Should Probably Go to Bed," Smyers sat behind a piano and ceded center stage to Mooney.
Naturally, "Tequila" capped the four-song encore, but not before Smyers had declared the evening had beaten out the two 2020 Nashville concerts to become "our favorite show we've ever played in our career."
Mooney was reluctant to face the last song. "I don't want this night to end," he told the crowd. "I'm very sad that this is almost over right now."
"We're gonna take this in," Smyers added gratefully. "We're gonna take in every minute of this."
Finally, the duo gave the crowd what they wanted, turning in another bravura performance of their career-making hit. As their band played them off, the two men mounted the onstage staircase and lingered one last time to soak in the night, then they hugged it out, waved to the crowd, patted their hearts, and knuckle-bumped before departing.
They'll be showing up again at the Barefoot Country Music Fest in Wildwood, New Jersey, on Friday and at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday before launching their 33-stop arena tour in Greenville, South Carolina, on Sept. 9. Supporting acts are the Band Camino and Ingrid Andress.