Luke Bryan Makes Us M-O-V-E, Shouts Out James Franklin At BJC

Pop country artist Luke Bryan made his return to Penn State Thursday night for his third performance at the Bryce Jordan Center and as part of his What Makes You Country tour.

Wearing a black ball cap, his trademark skinny jeans, and a flannel that was soon shed for a black v-neck, Bryan rocked out to songs from his latest album, which his tour is named after, as well as some of his older, hits like “Rollercoaster,” “Drunk on You,” and “Rain is a Good Thing.”

Throughout the concert, Bryan addressed the crowd about Happy Valley and ad-libbed lyrics to include State College or Penn State in them. However, he gave the show one special, blue and white touch.

Midway through his 22-song setlist, after singing “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye,” Bryan switched up the pace of his performance to talk to the well-attended Bryce Jordan Center about his friend James Franklin, who he befriended when Franklin was the head coach at Vanderbilt. Bryan claims to have called that, “at some point [Franklin’s] ass is going to Penn State,” a few years back.

The power bromance actually FaceTimed during the day Thursday and Bryan relayed an important message from the fifth year head coach to his fans in attendance: “He loves y’all.”

“Your football team is back,” Bryan said. “Y’all got a badass football coach. He’s a good person. We need good people in this world more than ever.”

He used that last line to feed into his next song: “Most People Are Good.”

In addition to his tribute to Franklin, Bryan spent most of his performance interacting with the crowd: inviting two young girls onto the stage to sing “Drunk on You” (an adorable gesture but odd song choice) with him, pounding cans of Miller Lite, dancing with one fan’s cutout of a Penn State football player with his head on it, replacing his ball cap with another fan’s Penn State hat on stage, and then adjusting it to fit his styled hair.

After playing for more than 90 minutes, Bryan appeared to leave the stage after singing “Move,” an energetic song that energized the audience, even Onward State Managing Editor Elissa Hill, who bopped to Bryan’s anthems in her seat throughout the concert. (Editor’s note: I’m shameless.)

As all the floodlights went dark, Bryan returned in a denim jacket to sing his final two songs of the evening and arguably his two most popular: “Country Girl” and “My Kind of Night.”