Josh Kelley Revs Up The Crowd at Chevrolet Riverfront Stage

It was the second to last CMA Fest 2011 show at the Riverfront Stage, but the crowd showed no signs of thinning out, packing the amphitheater for a performance by Josh Kelley.

After an introduction by his brother, Charles Kelley of Lady Antebellum, Josh took the stage.  “You look good, you’ve got tans, you’ve got smiles on your faces … I love it!” he said and then launched into a hybrid set of new songs, old favorites and mashups.  He opened with four songs from his debut Country album, Georgia Clay: “Ain’t Lettin’ Go,” “Gone Like That,” “Great Idea” and “Naleigh Moon.”

Kelley told the audience the last of those songs is about his daughter, a two-year-old he and wife, the actress Katherine Heigl, adopted from South Korea.

If the women in the audience weren’t already swooning at that, when the opening chords of his pop hit “Amazing” began, they did.  All around the Riverfront grounds, they raised their arms and cheered, bouncing along to the beat.

Boyfriends and husbands looked a little uncomfortable, but when Kelley segued smoothly into Cee Lo Green’s smash single, “Forget You,” the entire audience belted out the lyrics.

“I was in the wrong key the whole time on that song,” said Kelley, laughing, though the audience didn’t seem to mind.  Kelley closed out his set with the title song off his album, “Georgia Clay,” but he still had a surprise in store for the fans.

As a drumbeat backed him up, Kelley told the audience, “I had somebody send me something on that Twitter thing.  They dared me to do Snoop Dogg — so we’re gonna do it.”

Kelley slid into a family-friendly cover of the rapper’s song “Lodi Dodi,” proving he’s not just a pretty face — the man is at home in any genre, be it Country, pop or rap.

“That was awesome!” said Barbara VanDyke, 55, who traveled to CMA Fest from Clinton, Conn. with her 20-year-old daughter Ashley.

“Awesome,” Ashley echoed, nodding — or as Kelley might say, “Amazing.”

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