Big & Rich kicked off Labor Day Weekend at the Atlantis Casino Resort on Friday, Sept. 2 with an upbeat and rowdy concert featuring their hits.
Before the headliner got started, a DJ spun favorite country songs and some more contemporary pieces to get the party started. Most of the crowd could be seen gathered outside of the entrance, buying drinks from a line-up of bars serving beer, wine and cocktails.
At 8 p.m. sharp, Big Kenny Alphin, John Rich, DJ Sinister and their friend Cowboy Troy (a 6’5” rapping cowboy donning the appropriate headwear) rocked the Atlantis Grand Ballroom, a mostly packed, intimate auditorium, as part of their Peace, Love and Happy Hour Tour.
Big & Rich, best known for their country rock song “Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy” (which they did indeed play to a raucous crowd toward the closing of the show), stayed true to their roots and held firm in their tradition of honoring men and women from the armed forces.
As a type of intermission, pre-selected veterans were invited on stage to share their names and when they served. Some of the participants also had colorful comments for the audience, which shifted the energy more from country concert to Republican pep rally pretty quickly. Comments that the crowd roared at in response.
Aside from the anything-but-silent moment of gratitude for the armed forces, which included honoring other men and women who served in the crowd, the concert went on as expected with guests dancing in the aisles and beers served to your seat by section servers.
The entire set felt like a throwback to what country music used to be, with a crowd that fit no stereotype and appeared to have no obvious set demographics.
The duo and their band slowed it down for love ballads like “Run Away With You” and “Lovin’ Lately,” but kept most of the concert high-energy. At the end, the group closed out with a medley of pop and rock favorites from big names like Bruno Mars.
Nora Heston Tarte is a long-time Reno resident living on the southside of town. In addition to food, her hobbies include wine, hiking, yoga and travel. She is also the managing editor of a regional, lifestyle publication and freelances for other publications most frequently in the travel space. Nora received her bachelor’s in Journalism from California State University, Sacramento before graduating from University of Nebraska, Lincoln with a master’s in Professional Journalism. You can follow her travel adventures, and local exploits, on her Instagram account @wanderlust_n_wine.