Country superstar Luke Combs’ homecoming in Charlotte was one for the ages

By Zach Goins

July 16, 2023

Photo: David Bergman

90-degree temperatures and the threat of thunderstorms couldn’t keep Luke Combs from an epic homecoming show Friday night, kicking off the first of two sold-out shows at Bank of America Stadium.

As the sun set on Charlotte, the country music star took to the stage for a two-hour, 23-song set that highlighted the biggest hits of Combs’ career, paying extra attention to his earliest works. 

Luke Combs performing at Bank of America Stadium on Friday night, the first of two sold-out shows in Charlotte. Photo: David Bergman

After initially selling out his Saturday night show when tickets first went on sale for the world tour back in September 2022, Combs announced the second Friday night show in June to make sure all his hometown fans got a chance to hear from the reigning CMA Entertainer of the Year.

Doors to the stadium opened at 5 p.m. as the fun got started with singer-songwriter Brent Cobb as the first of three opening acts. Cobb welcomed fans into the stadium with his brand of blue-collar Americana, playing for around 40 minutes. Gary Allan followed Cobb with his raspy blend of country and rock as fans continued to find their seats.

With a 5:45 p.m. start time on a Friday evening– although the stadium didn’t begin to truly fill in until shortly before the third and final opener– Turnpike Troubadours began their set just before 8 p.m. The country music band came out embracing the weather and opening with their biggest hit, “Long Hot Summer Day.”

By the time Combs was ready to hit the stage, those passing by the stadium might as well have thought the Panthers were playing. The loudspeaker was blasting Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline” and the crowd was singing along, until the lights went dark and “Luuuuuke” chants fit for Luke Kuechly echoed through the stadium. But the cheers weren’t for a linebacker, just for one of country music’s biggest stars.

Photo: David Bergman

A quick highlight reel on the video boards recapped Combs’ rise to superstardom, showing footage from his childhood all the way through present day, ending with a clip of the singer strutting out of the Panthers tunnel before hitting the stage. When the lights came up, Combs was centerstage with arms raised and fans screaming as “Lovin’ On You” began to play. But before Combs raised his mic, he punted a solo cup of beer into the crowd and made his way to all sides of the stage, egging on the fans for louder and louder applause– and the hometown crowd ate it up.

“Lovin’ On You” transitioned directly into “Hannah Ford Road” from Combs’ latest album, Gettin’ Old, and then the classic, “Cold As You,” before Combs slowed down to address the fans. As if the first three songs hadn’t made it clear enough, Combs’ words showed just how meaningful of a night this was for him.

“Saying this is a hometown show for me is an understatement,” Combs said as he recounted his history with North Carolina– from growing up in Huntersville to moving to Asheville and later attending Appalachian State. “Ain’t missed a Panthers game since 1995,” he reminded us, as he stood in the center of his favorite team’s field. 

Throughout the night Combs continued to mix up his setlist from previous shows, keeping fans on their toes as he combined his biggest hits with deep cuts for his most passionate followers. One fan in particular was treated to a surprise after meeting Combs months ago in Nashville and asking the singer why he never performs “Lonely One” off his album This One’s For You. The fan met Combs again Friday night prior to the concert and Combs promised to play the song, pointing out the lucky attendee in the front row before getting started.

Photo: David Bergman

Other highlights of the performance included Combs’ cover of Tracy Chapman’s “Fast Car,” and mega hits like “When It Rains It Pours,” “Forever After All,” “Beautiful Crazy,” and closing with “Hurricane” before a two-song encore.

As the “Luuuuuke” cheers roared, Combs reemerged on stage to close out the night with an encore featuring a new hit and an old classic: “The Kind of Love We Make” and “Beer Never Broke My Heart.”

However, fans hoping to hear Combs’ love ballad “Better Together” were out of luck, as the singer has skipped over it during every Friday night encore on his two-night tour stops.

Photo: David Bergman

Even after Combs had finished his final lyrics of the night, he wasn’t ready to end the first evening of his homecoming. The band continued to jam as Combs made his way around the stage for another five minutes signing autographs and tossing items from the stage to fans in the pit. 

Despite releasing a new album just four months ago, Combs only played three songs from Gettin’ Old, while the majority of the setlist (nine songs to be precise) came from his debut album, This One’s For You

Setlist (Friday night):

“Lovin’ on You”
“Hannah Ford Road”
“Cold as You”
“One Number Away”
“Houston, We Got a Problem”
“Fox in the Henhouse”
“Going, Going, Gone”
“Must’ve Never Met You”
“Where the Wild Things Are”
“Fast Car” (Tracy Chapman cover)
“Does to Me”
“Forever After All”
“Lonely One”
“She Got the Best of Me”
“When It Rains It Pours”
“This One’s for You”
“Dust on the Bottle” / “Meet in the Middle” / “I Was Your Man”
“Beautiful Crazy”
“Doin’ This”
“Dive” (Ed Sheeran cover)
“Love You Anyway”
“1, 2 Many”


“The Kind of Love We Make”
“Beer Never Broke My Heart”

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