On December 5th, the Hard Rock Event Center at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa hosted the US 103.5 Jingle Y’all Concert which was benefiting St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital! Country artist greats like Jake Owen, Chris Janson, Elle King, Neon Union, and Corey Kent came together for a unique show called an acoustic “Guitar Pull”. You know the massive hits like Jake Owen’s “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” and Elle King and Miranda Lambert’s massive hit song “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home)”, but do you know what a guitar pull entails?
What exactly is a guitar pull? These intimate gatherings bring together a small circle of talented musicians, armed with their acoustic guitars and voices, to share their songs and stories. It’s a raw, unfiltered experience, where the focus lies not on elaborate stage shows or pyrotechnics, but on the power of country music and the stories it conveys. In the quiet space between performances, conversations flow about the performers’ song writing process, previous jobs, and life on tour. As a result, it makes for a strong connection between the artists and the lucky fans in attendance at the Hard Rock that night. The “guitar pull” is a testament to the enduring spirit of country music, a reminder that sometimes the most beautiful music comes from the simplest of settings. The focus of the show is on the song and the shared love of the craft all while raising funds for a cause near and dear to many – St. Jude Children’s Hospital!
The setting for a show like this is of utmost importance, and the Hard Rock Event Center rose to the occasion with the perfect set and setting! The Jingle Y’all show at the event center had an intimate setting of 1,500 lucky fans. Bear in mind, that the headlining performers Jake Owen, Chris Janson, and Elle King regularly fill arenas on tour! The Event center offers free parking in a covered garage which is a big deal considering most large venues charge upwards of $25-$50! We arrived early at the Casino for some pre-show dinner, drinks, and to try our luck at the slot machines. With dining options like a steakhouse, sushi, and Italian fare, there is something for everyone, even the picky eater! And of course, the Hard Rock Cafe is located on the casino floor and is anything but a “cafe”. Equipped with a full menu, big stage, and multiple bars, the Hard Rock Cafe showcases an impressive collection of guitars, outfits, and drum sets from iconic musicians.
The lobby before entering the venue had the local country music station US103.5 there giving away Christmas beads along with iHeartRadio giving fans the perfect Christmas Tree photo op for Instagram! The stage setup consisted of a handful of microphone stands, bar stools, and beverages along with festive Christmas decorations. A DJ was on stage spinning new country hits along with some oldies but goldies songs that made for a fun and festive vibe before the show began. The Hard Rock was meticulous in dialing in the most optimal sound with no echoes, reverb, or microphone squeals. This was our first show at the Hard Rock Event Center, which opened back in October of 2019 with a performance by the one and only, Keith Urban! But it will certainly not be our last. They offer an intimate setting for not only musical artists like Keith Urban and Jake Owen, but world-class comedians like Kevin James and John Mulaney. Tap here to learn more about the venue and view the upcoming events at the Hard Rock in Tampa!
Corey Kent and Neon Union where the first artists to take the stage together at 8PM. Corey Kent made a splash in the music scene with his platinum single “Wild as Her” and his follow-up single “Something’s Gonna Kill Me.” He spoke about doing whatever he had to do to provide for his family. This included taking a job as a blacktop paver during the pandemic in Dallas before returning to country music. Neon Union, consisting of Andrew Millsaps and Leo Brooks, is making waves with their unique blend of modern country and traditional songwriting. Their song “Bout Damn Time” had some amazing melodies while making the statement of how much country music has changed over the years. They performed 8 songs together before a short intermission that brought the DJ back on stage to keep the party going.
The lights dimmed and Jake Owen, Chris Janson, and Elle King took the stage with the crowd roaring. Comically, the three musicians took to “Rock, Paper, & Scissors” game to see who would perform the first song. Elle King kicked off the set with her breakout hit “Ex’s & Oh’s” and had fans singing along to every lyric. Elle is known for her powerful vocals and rebellious spirit with her catchy melodies and relatable lyrics. Chris Janson was up next starting with his hit “Fix a Drink”. Chris was armed with not only his acoustic guitar, but a kick bass drum, harmonica, and Grand Ole Opry microphone stand equipped with 2 Mountain Dew bottles. Janson is a country music renaissance man – a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter, and dynamic performer. His music blends old-school charm with contemporary influences into hits like “Buy Me a Boat”. Jake Owen made sure to let the Tampa crowd know he was proud of his Florida roots being raised in Vero Beach, FL. Known for his energetic live shows, it was great to see Owen perform in a stripped-down acoustic show. It’s clear he has a genuine connection with fans, telling stories from the stage and throwing guitar picks into the crowd. The crowd sang along to every word from his short but sweet set of songs like “Homemade”, “Honky Tonk”, and the mega-hit “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”.
Check out some fan footage from the show of Jake discussing his Florida roots and performing “Home Made”:
View this post on Instagram
A very special thanks go out to the Hard Rock Event Center at the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Tampa for hosting such a wonderful show for a great cause. They offer a world class experience ranging from the venue for the concert, the gaming tables and slots, to the array of restaurants. The musicians and US103.5 stressed to the crowd how important the work being done at St. Judes is, and that by all of us coming together to celebrate music, we can help support those in need during the holiday season.