Blake Shelton’s Motto Seems to Be “Have Bar, Will Play”

What good is a stage with your name on it if you don’t take advantage of it once in a while?

That must’ve been what was on Blake Shelton’s mind on Wednesday (Jan. 23), when he spontaneously decided to put on a show at his Nashville Ole Red. According to the Tennessean, Shelton said that he was in the recording studio in Nashville when he came up with the idea for a pop-up show. “I don’t think Luke Bryan did this at his bar. What a dump. It’s just a bunch of bro-country playing over there,” Shelton joked about Bryan’s 32 BRIDGE Food + Drink right across the street from Ole Red.

There may or may not have been an official set list, but Shelton took the opportunity to reach way, way back for some of his oldest hits. “I’m just trying to do songs I think I should remember, and I think I’m doing pretty good,” he said. “I swear that’s why we’re down here. We’ve got a tour about to start up, so it doesn’t hurt for me relearn some of my old stuff. There’s a good chance I could screw some of this up tonight. But who cares, man? Get a drink. Get me a drink. Get them a drink. Let’s just have some fun.”

When I talked to Shelton last year for Cowboys & Indians, he’d told me that he felt the same way about the Oklahoma Ole Red. “Oklahoma needs this. There are a lot of artists where I come from who would love to play at a venue like this. Because before it opened, unless someone was having a barbecue or there was a fair or something nearby,” he explained, “there weren’t many options for people who wanted to perform. It’s been a real shot in the arm to a community that really needed it.”

Shelton played for more than two hours, taking requests from the audience even when he struggled to remember all the lyrics from his nearly 20 years in the business. And there were a couple guest appearances: RaeLynn joined Shelton on stage for her “God Made Girls” and their collaboration on “Boys’Round Here,” and Pryor Baird and Shelton shared the stage for a cover of Merle Haggard’s 1969 “Workin’ Man Blues.” Both are former contestants on The Voice.

Set List from Ole Red Pop-Up Show

“Neon Light” (2014)

“All About Tonight” (2010)

“Guy with the Girl” (2016)

“Doin’ What She Likes” (2014)

“Sangria” (2015)

“Turnin’ Me On” (2018)

“Ol’ Red” (2002)

“Some Beach” (2004)

“Came Here to Forget” (2016)

“Gonna” (2015)

“She’s Got a Way with Words” (2016)

“My Eyes” (2014)

“Lonely Tonight” (2014)

“Hillbilly Bone” (2009)

“I’ll Name the Dogs” (2017)

“I Lived It” (2018)

“Every Time I Hear That Song” (2017)

“Sure Be Cool if You Did” (2013)

“Nobody But Me” (2005)

“Austin”* (2001)

“She Wouldn’t Be Gone” (2008)

“Drink On It” (2012)

“Home” (2008)

“Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” (2010)

“Mine Would Be You” (2013)

“Goodbye Time” (2005)

“Honey Bee” (2011)

“The Baby” (2002)

“Playboys of the Southwestern World” (2003)

“Footloose” (2011)

“God Gave Me You” (2011)

* Enjoy the official music video for Shelton’s debut single, “Austin.”

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Alison makes her living loving country music. She’s based in Chicago, but she’s always leaving her heart in Nashville.