Friday was all about Wayne Newton at Bourbon and Beyond. He unexpectedly stole the whole damn show. While many may have wondered what the 81 year old was doing on a rock festival lineup, from the moment he took the stage it was evident why he was there. The entertainer showed up with a full orchestra for his 1:40pm set. He delighted the audience with hits “Viva Las Vegas” and “I Can’t Help Falling In Love With You” proving he is the consummate entertainer.
The singer addressed the audience and asked “Who Is In Love Today?” as he sang his ballads and flashed his million dollar smile at all the ladies in attendance. Newton played the keytar and the guitar during his set showing off instrumental chops that wowed the crowd.
He was ever-present at the festival – from the main stage to the bourbon tasting stage. He told stories and smoked cigars, hosted meet and greets and cocktail hours. He seemed to be having the best day ever as he met every single fan who approached him with a smile. We fell in love and so did everyone else in his presence.
Goodbye June kicked off the festival main stage and then headed straight to the media area to promote their perfect pairing with Three Chord Whiskey.
Inhaler brought some rock to the main stage. The Dublin band is supporting Pearl Jam on a few tour dates this week beginning tonight. If Elijah Hewson (Bono’s son) and this band are the future, we know rock n roll is far from dead.
Bastille’s set was a vibrant experience curated through the band’s colorful use of stage lighting and screens that showed a variety of clips. They brought high energy, which inspired the crowd to dance along the entirety of their twelve-song set.
Joy Oladokun and Britney Howard brought their powerhouse soulful vocals to Friday afternoon adding some unforgettable female energy to the main stages with their mix of rock, pop and blues. Oladokun has had a breakout year and her show should never be missed when she comes to your town.
Hozier took the stage in a denim jacket, guitar slung over his tall frame. His long hair flowed as he belted out anthemic hits “Jackie and Wilson”, “To Be Alone” and finally finished with crowd favorite “Take Me To Church.”
The last two acts of the night amped up the energy level at the main stages. The first taste of 80’s nostalgia at Bourbon and Beyond 2023 came from Duran Duran, who sounded as good as ever as they sang all the songs that catapulted the band into notoriety. They opened the set with “The Wild Boys”, “Hungry Like the Wolf” and “A View to a Kill”. It was a dance party throughout, but especially during funky “Notorious”. Later the band slowed it down with “Ordinary World”, which they dedicated to the people of Ukraine. Duran Duran could have easily headlined the festival day and no one would have complained.
The Killers drew a huge crowd to close out the night. Their 18 song set was full of all the hits – “Mr. Brightside”, “Jenny Was a Friend of Mine”, “Somebody Told Me” most notably. The crowd ate it up.