At first glance you would not think of Hawaii as a hot bed for country music. When you delve into the state’s history you learn about the paniolo, the Hawaiian cowboy. The steel guitar, which is prominent in country music, also originated in Hawaii. Finally all five branches of the military are well represented on Oahu, thus the sheer number of fans is huge.
Country music is so popular, two country concerts on the same night were able to sellout. Luke Bryant sold out the Blaisdell Arena and Luke Combs sold out the much smaller Republik. Although the crowd was smaller Comb’s loyal fan community “The Bootleggers” were out in force.
Comb’s song selection covered all the bases. There was something for everyone.
The broken hearted were serenaded by “She Got The Best Of Me”. The beer drinkers were entertained with the word play of “Beer Can”. Finally those missing a lost family member could cry into their beer with “Used to You”. Throughout the night Comb’s talked to the crowd, relating stories about moving to Nashville from his hometown of Ashville, North Carolina, being on a plane for the first time just two years ago, and dedicating the ballad “This One’s For You” to his family, friends, and fans that helped him realize his dreams.
It was this banter that made Luke Combs relatable to the average fan. Comb’s may not be an outlaw like Johnny Cash or Merle Haggard but he’s no pretty boy playing Bro-country.
For close to an hour and a half Luke Combs and his band – Tyler King (lead guitar), Kurt Ozan (guitar), Jake Summers (drums), Delaney Baker (bass), and Rob Williford (guitar) transformed The Republik into a good ole roadhouse. The band ripped through “Out There,” “Don’t Tempt Me,” Chris Stapleton’s “Tennessee Whiskey,” and “Can I Get An Outlaw.” Combs also debuted the song “Moon Over Mexico” and a pair of unreleased songs “Beautiful Crazy” and “Beer Never Broke My Heart”. Combs’ most popular song “Hurricane” ended the set and the band encored with “Let The Moonshine”.
Luke Combs’ performance easily bridged the gap between todays “pop” country and the genres nostalgic past. Let’s hope that Combs continues to write his own songs and shies away from premade country anthems. As long as he continues down his current path, the Hawaiian roadhouse will always sellout.