Luke Combs, Cody Johnson Lead Final Night – Billboard

Luke Combs, Cody Johnson and The Black Crowes were among those helping to wrap the final night of the three-day, 2022 Stagecoach Festival in Indio, Calif. on May 1. After two long previous days and nights of partying, fans clearly had enough left in the tank for one more night of singing, cheering and dancing along to music from a packed lineup of artists.


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Though the Friday and Saturday night headlining sets from Thomas Rhett and Carrie Underwood featured guest performances (Thomas Rhett welcomed HARDY and Ashton Kutcher, while Underwood performed with Guns N’ Roses lead singer Axl Rose), Combs kept his show streamlined and focused on his catalog of hit songs.

Other performers on the Sunday lineup included Palomino stage performers Hayes Carll, Rhiannon Giddens, Yola, The Mavericks and more, while the Mane stage featured Lindsay Ell and LOCASH.

Here is a timestamped recap of highlights from the final day of Stagecoach 2022.

1:50 p.m.: Callista Clark celebrated her first Stagecoach performance, with a set on the SiriusXM Spotlight Stage. The teenage newcomer showed off her soul-tinged voice on “Heartbreak Song,” before offering the first song she learned to play on guitar: Aretha Franklin’s “Chain of Fools.” While mostly staying faithful to the original, she still infused the song with a sultrier vibe. She followed with the title track to her project Real to Me, as well as her first single to country radio, “It’s Cause I Am.”

2:35 p.m.: Lainey Wilson also celebrated her first Stagecoach performance by performing on the SiriusXM Spotlight Stage, launching her set with songs including “Neon Diamonds” and the quirky anthem “What Would Dolly Do?.” Wilson acknowledged her whirlwind of a year, from earning her first No. 1 with “Things a Man Oughta Know,” having the song win an ACM Award for song of the year, and following it with a second No. 1, the Cole Swindell duet “Never Say Never.” “I’m a long ways away from home, but y’all make me feel like I’m there,” Wilson told the crowd, who was engaged with every song, hit or album cut. Wilson’s quick wit and open heart shine both in song and onstage, as she intro’d her breakthrough hit, saying, “This song ain’t about a flat tire, or if you can start a fire, or turn a wrench. You can YouTube all that s–t. This song is about having good character, it’s about treating people right, it’s about having the courage and discernment to do the right thing, and that’s not something just a man oughta know, it’s something that we all need to know.” 

3:35 p.m.: The laidback crowd sat on hay bales positioned throughout the shed over at the Palomino stage as Rhiannon Giddens offered a 30-minute set that started with the folk song “O Death” and was steeped in old-time music—or as Giddens put it, she and her band “play the stuff that came before the radio, before the Grand Ole Opry.” She also offered up her expertise on banjo and fiddle, explaining the African-American roots of the banjo and performing “I Shall Not Be Moved,” a song she told the crowd she learned from “one of the last Black fiddlers in the South,” Joe Thompson. She ended her set with a passionate take on the Patsy Cline classic “She’s Got You.”

4:00 p.m.: Lindsay Ell offered up the first Mane stage performance of the day, showcasing her formidable guitar skills, as well as songs including “Castle,” “The Other Side” (which featured a bit of a guitar/keytar “duel” between Ell and a bandmate), and her latest release, “Right on Time.” “This is dedicated to anyone who feels like they are falling behind,” Ell said. As the heat was still intense late in the day, Ell and her band also had some fun with the crowd, brandishing supersoakers and spraying those closest to the stage.

4:30 p.m.: Yola brought a strong dose of soul to her Palomino stage set, showcasing her powerful, emotive voice on “Starlight,” and “Be My Friend,” and set the crowd dancing on “Dancing Away in Tears,” before closing with the title track to her album Stand for Myself.

 5:40 p.m.: LOCASH continued warming up the crowd on the Mane stage with tracks such as “I Know Somebody,” before welcoming Mike Love from the Beach Boys to the stage for a live performance of LOCASH’s recent release “Beach Boys,” before offering up Beach Boys classics including “Kokomo.”

6:20 pm.: A medley of hits from George Strait, Garth Brooks, Alan Jackson and more played over the loudspeakers just prior to Huntsville, Texas, native Cody Johnson’s set at the Mane Stage—just one indication of the style of ‘90s-influenced country music fans were in for as Johnson started his set with “Honky Tonk Hardwood Floors.”

“I hope you brought your a-game Stagecoach!” he said, launching into “Cowboy Like Me,” the title track to his 2014 album. Johnson nodded to his recent Dear Rodeo: The Cody Johnson Story documentary before launching into the documentary’s namesake song, noting, “I had the opportunity to record this with one of my heroes Reba McEntire, that’s pretty cool,” he said. He followed with “Me and My Kind,” and his first Top 15 Country Airplay hit, “On My Way to You.”

He offered tributes to nurses, firefighters, first-responders, military members and more before offering a cover of Charlie Daniels’s defiant classic “Long Haired Country Boy,” which Johnson covered on his album Ain’t Nothin’ to It. He followed with a pair of newer songs, including the title track to his latest project, Human: The Double Album. Seated on a stool with just an acoustic guitar as the sun set over Indio, Johnson noted how the world just might get along better with a little more grace.

Johnson ended his set with “Til You Can’t,” which earned Johnson his first No. 1 Country Airplay hit earlier this year. “That right there is the power of country radio,” he told the crowd. “I’ve been doing this for 15 years…thank you for supporting real country music here at Stagecoach.”

7:15 p.m.: At 82, Smokey Robinson possesses a voice that is still as smooth and supple as ever, and a classic sense of showmanship. The crowd was packed to overflowing inside Stagecoach’s Palomino tent as he sailed through “Being With You,” “You’ve Really Got a Hold on Me,” and more. But it was one of his biggest cuts as a songwriter that drew the biggest singalong of the evening. “We are going to play a song right now that I actually wrote for the Temptations but as a songwriter it has become my international anthem,” he said before leading an enthusiastic version of the 1965 classic “My Girl.”

7:40 p.m.: Commandeering the stage in his black and gold-striped jacket over black attire, lead singer Chris Robinson joined his The Black Crowes bandmates in ripping through “Jealous Again,” a voluminous “Kickin’ My Heart Around” (complete with a blustery harmonica solo), a surging “Soul Singing,” “Thorn in My Pride” and more. Blackberry Smoke’s Charlie Starr was a guest on guitar.

“This is a song about long distances and strange days,” Robinson noted, before launching into “Wiser Time,” from the group’s 1994 album Amorica. Robinson also took a moment to chat with the crowd, saying, “I don’t know what’s worse, melting in this sun or being blown by this wind. But your f—ing cowboy hats must fit good, otherwise they’d be blown all the way to f—king San Diego by now.” The crowd cheered at the first guitar chords of “She Talks to Angels,” and as they later closed with one of their signature hits, “Hard to Handle,” offering praise to late music legend Otis Redding, who first had a hit with the song in 1968 and was a co-writer on the song.

9:15 p.m.: Luke Combs, who has earned 13 No. 1 Billboard Country Airplay hits since his first in early 2017 with “Hurricane,” closed out the three-day festival, launching into his headlining set Sunday night with the clever kiss off, “Cold as You.” Holding up his red cup, he said, “Stagecoach, I sure hope you’ve got one more night in ya!”

Throughout the set, Combs took fans on a journey through the backstories of some of his biggest hits, with a set that included “When It Rains It Pours,” “1, 2 Many,” “Houston, We Got a Problem,” “One Number Away,” “Doin’ This,” “Beautiful Crazy,” “Even Though I’m Leavin’,” which drew one of the biggest crowd responses of the evening.

“My parents told me, ‘If you’ve worked hard for it and you’ve earned it, be proud of it. It doesn’t matter what anyone says,’” he told the crowd before launching into “It Does to Me” (sans his duet partner on the track, Eric Church).

Johnson returned to the Mane Stage, joining Combs for a rendition of the Brooks & Dunn classic “Brand New Man,” which Combs performed with B&D on the duo’s collaboration album Reboot. Elsewhere in the set, covers of Travis Tritt’s 2000 hit “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and Tim McGraw’s 1995 hit “I Like It, I Love It” were used as catalysts to highlights Combs’s hard-charging band. Combs also made the first live performance of “Tomorrow Me,” a song from his upcoming album Growin’ Up.

He intro’d “She Got the Best of Me” by recalling the writing of the song, saying, “I was 24, a college dropout, trying to learn how to write songs…here we are, 75,000-deep at Stagecoach.” He closed his set with his breakthrough hit “Hurricane,” saying, “Thank you for singing along with us. I can’t wait to come back if you’ll have us. I heard you sing this in 2018, in 2019 and I waited two years to hear you sing along in 2022…I want everything you’ve got!”

After wheeling through his breakthrough hit, chants of “One more song!” filled the crowd, until Combs returned to the stage to perform “Forever After All” a six-week No. 1 hit on the Billboard Country chart. He followed with “Beer Never Broke My Heart.” “There have been things that have broke my heart. Y’all sure as hell did not break my heart tonight,” Combs said, nodding to the crowd.

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