Pranks Overrun Rascal Flatts Rhythm & Roots Tour Stop in Indiana
While Rascal Flatts' Rhythm & Roots Tour still has a few dates left, Saturday night (Sept. 17) at Klipsch Music Center in Indianapolis, Ind., was the final stop for openers Kelsea Ballerini and Chris Lane, and the tourmates made sure they ended the trek with a memorable show. The country genre is well known for its tour pranks, and Ballerini, Lane and Rascal Flatts let fans get an up-close seat on all the practical jokes Saturday evening.
Rascal Flatts were beginning "Life Is a Highway" in the middle of a 90-minute set when a few familiar faces appeared on stage. Members of Ballerini and Lane's band dressed up as construction workers, race car drivers and police officers, while Ballerini and Lane were pushed around in children's cars and bicycles, weaving in and out of orange cones placed on the stage to mimic the song. Of course, the Flatts struggled to get through the track without laughing.
Later, Lane and his band would come back and bring cornhole, weights and a football to toss around during "Fast Cars and Freedom" as Rascal Flatts got into the fun and tossed the football a few times while singing the song. The pranks continued when Gary LeVox sang a heartfelt tribute to Prince with "Purple Rain," only to look up at the screen behind him and see an image of Dave Chappelle dressed as Prince hanging onto a basketball net from a 2004 comedy skit. Unable to sing after that, the band continued to play the instrumentals to the late icon's song as LeVox stared at the image in disbelief.
"This is the last weekend of a wonderful, wonderful tour with Chris Lane and Kelsea Ballerini," Jay DeMarcus said during the show. "You never know what's going to happen tonight. All bets are off, everything becomes fair game and it's probably going to get crazy as the night goes on."
The fun continued throughout their set, but so did the hits. Throughout their 16-year career, Rascal Flatts have amassed 16 No. 1 songs, and the country trio played many of them during the evening. High energy tracks "Summer Nights," "I Like the Sound of That" and "Banjo" kicked off the show before the group slowed things down with a medley of their piano-based ballads including "Come Wake Me Up," "I Melt" and "I Won't Let Go."
After joking that he is running for president in the upcoming 2016 election, DeMarcus said that he hoped throughout the 90 minutes Rascal Flatts were on the stage, fans would "take a break from reality" and party.
"I know Kanye West is going to run in 2020, but my vote is with you," LeVox later told his cousin. The remainder of the band's concert ebbed and flowed with poignant hits like "Bless the Broken Road" followed by high energy tracks like "Rewind," during which the band showed a montage of baby photos of the three members as they rose to fame. Always appreciative to their fans, each member frequently thanked the audience for their support.
"We've been doing this for 16 years and because of you we're able to do what we love every day. This next song we're dedicating to you," Joe Don Rooney said before they had the entire amphitheater in a singalong for "My Wish."
Rascal Flatts fittingly ended their set with their ode to fans, "Here's to You," before an encore performance of "Me and My Gang" with Ballerini and Lane. As beach balls engulfed the stage and the audience, it was evident that the Rhythm & Roots Tour was one fun summer hang that no artist wanted to say goodbye to.
Earlier in the evening, Ballerini held her own throughout her 40-minute energetic set, while also being pranked. During the performance of her third No. 1 single, "Peter Pan," Lane and his band dressed up as Peter Pan and danced around the stage while she sang, also holding back laughter. One brave Peter Pan was shown flying in the air as he sprinkled glitter on the band. A perfect end to Ballerini's time as an opener, she'll head out on her own headlining tour this fall.
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