I felt like a kid on Christmas Eve. It was the Tuesday night before 102.5’s Holiday Jam, and the next morning the local country station was going to reveal their Secret Superstar performers. I couldn’t wait!
Over the past few weeks, they’d teased us with a few hints as to who was performing. I was pretty sure of the opening act from the first clue about them being a dancer, but the headliner was well kept under rolls of wrapping…
Well, that is, until the weekend before when 102.5 hinted the superstar may be a ‘they’ rather than a ‘he/she.’
By this point I was wondering, hoping, it would be that one duo I was dying to see at a small venue before they went on to arena shows. While I thought I might know who it was, the fact that I really didn’t had me bursting with anticipation.
But many didn’t feel the same.
I saw numerous posts from concert-goers lamenting about the fact that 102.5 was keeping the Holiday Jam artists a secret this year. They worried it would be a ‘nobody,’ or a somebody they didn’t like.
C’mon guys… have a little faith!
This is Country 102.5 we’re talking about.
Last year they brought us Russell Dickerson & Carly Pierce at the Holiday Jam.
As for the lineups for their Street Parties this past spring and fall, they proved even more impressive. Right out on Lansdowne, we were privileged to see the likes of Jimmie Allen, Devin Dawson, Chase Rice, Justin Moore, Mitchell Tenpenny, Ryan Hurd, Lindsay Ell, Jordan Davis… And Maren Freakin’ Morris!!!
When 102.5 says they are going to bring you a great show, they deliver!
And boy did they deliver some holiday joy! It was as if the fur-clad, red gloves of the Jolly Man himself handed over the news on that Wednesday morning. We were not only going to see the dancing queen Lauren Alaina, but also superstars Dan + Shay the following night!
Within hours, the naysayers, the non-believers changed their tone. They swarmed the ticket offices and quickly sold the show out.
This left the House of Blues Boston packed on Thursday night for Country 102.5’s Secret Superstar Holiday Jam.
Lauren Alaina was like the tree-topper, lighting up the room with her angelic vocals and personality as she opened the night with ‘Road Less Traveled.’ She easily roused the crowd, asking them to throw their hands in the air with her while she sang, “I’m Doing Fine.’ Her performances of favorites like ‘Ladies In The 90’s’ and ‘Getting Good’ had the House of Blues singing and dancing along. But the most memorable moment came when she sat down at the keyboard for a soulful start to ‘What Ifs,’ before strutting the stage with her solo rendition. Though her version with Kane Brown was a hit on the charts, her performance that night left none wanting for anything more than just Lauren. She drew even more appreciation from the crowd as she donned a Sox jersey and blew kisses out to the Boston fans.
Lauren Alaina’s opening performance was like a full concert in and of itself, but she was just the beginning of a magical night.
Dan + Shay’s entrance was nothing short of electric. Energetic drummers hammered away, backlit by a giant screen that flashed with images of the superstars until they hit the stage with a vibrant performance of ‘Alone Together.’
Throughout the night they addressed Boston fans, praising them for their readiness to sing along. And man, did the Boston fan’s make their presence known. I’m not sure I’ve heard the House of Blues ring so loud.
From songs like ‘All To Myself,’ ‘From the Ground Up,’ ‘10,000 Hours,’ and ‘Speechless,’ Dan + Shay had to compete with concert-goes to raise their voices above their fans. Even if their voices didn’t always win, their energy did. Dan Smyers rocked the stage, sleeveless, guns blazing while strumming the guitar. Shay Mooney displayed his crazy smooth vocals along with equally impressive dance moves.
The duo often turned the mic over to the crowd, relishing in the fact that their fans wanted to give back the love of their music. Even when they strayed from their originals to belt out Adele’s ‘Someone Like You,’ the crowd readily joined in. But the crowning moment came when they performed their chart-topper ‘Tequila.’ The House of Blues Boston erupted, booming with a communal voice that might have rocked the whole city. A perfect ending to an incredible night.
I’m not sure we are going to get another opportunity to be so close to Dan + Shay again as they are beginning their arena tour next year, but I’m so thankful I had the chance to be there for this intimate performance!
And to think, so many missed out on the magic because they just didn’t believe.
I’m already making my list of performers I’m hoping to see at next year’s Holiday Jam. I have faith that no matter if 102.5 decides to keep it a secret again or not, they will deliver yet another exciting night of music and joy. That’s my favorite gift!
Photos: NECM’s Abigail Blair