With three consecutive No. 1 albums, nine singles reaching the top of the charts, and seven Grammy Awards, Lady Antebellum has a resume that speaks for itself.
But despite the massive commercial success the group has enjoyed, fans at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center on Thursday had to wonder what to expect when the Nashville trio of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood took the stage.
Following the release of their sixth studio album, "747" in 2015, the band took a two-year, self-imposed hiatus, before returning to the road this summer in support of their new album, "Heart Break."
Would they be rusty? Would the Midas touch they enjoyed early in their career— seemingly writing and recording chart-topping hits with ease —be gone?
Or, was a break from the road and the studio just what the doctor ordered to spark a rebirth for one of country music’s most popular acts?
Fortunately, the diehards that packed the venue on a beautiful summer night didn’t have to wait long for answers.
Following opening sets by Brett Young and Kelsea Ballerini (look for this talented 23-year-old to be headlining in the very near future), it was showtime.
Ushered in by a jazzy horn set complete with slide trombone (when was the last time you heard slide trombone and country concert in the same sentence) they opened with "Downtown," from the 2013 album, "Golden."
Despite competing against the Bills/Vikings game and the opening night of the Erie County Fair, the performing arts center was full and the crowd came ready to party.
Backed by a stellar cast of supporting musicians, including Scott's husband, drummer Chris Tyrrell, Lady Antebellum took fans through a nice mix of music from the last decade.
That being said, the true beauty of this multi-platinum supergroup can be found beyond the set list. Whether it was Charles Kelley spotting a sign in the crowd and leading 20,000 strong in singing "Happy Birthday" to a 10-year-old fan, or the heartfelt stories the band shared from the stage, the members of Lady Antebellum exude an appreciation for their fans and a love of what they do. When Scott told the crowd between songs, "We look forward to every single show, every single night," it felt truly genuine.
It's also refreshing to see a country act offer up a night of music that is largely devoid of every stereotype non-country fans abhor about the genre.
There was no swigging whiskey between songs, no tired cliches about pickup trucks or politics, and not a single Confederate flag in sight.
With pure voices, and songs largely centered around life and love, Lady Antebellum brought a family-friendly night of country to the country.
That was never more on display than during "Army," from "Heart Break." Kelley offered a lengthy intro thanking all of the moms in the crowd, along with his own wife, before launching into the ode to moms everywhere that left many in the crowd misty-eyed.
Also from the new album, "This City," was a fun, upbeat number that showcased the band's seamless ability to fuse their country roots with their pop crossover and deliver a beautiful, feel-good song.
For those who may have wondered if Lady Antebellum was back, their Darien Lake performance offered a resounding one-word answer. Yes!