Country music star John Michael Montgomery came out on stage at Hempstead Hall here Friday night with much fanfare as a faceless, booming voice introduced him and his band played introductory music.
As he took the stage, Montgomery was enthusiastic and receptive to the crowd and the crowd didn't lose any time clapping for the star.
He made mention that the Razorbacks had beaten his team, the Kentucky Wildcats, in basketball, “but, everyone beats them.” That got a laugh out of the crowd.
Montgomery played his first big hit, “Life's a Dance,” the first thing. He played and sang several of his Top 10 hits, including, “I Swear,” “The Little Girl,” and several others, including “I Can Love You Like That,” “I Love the Way You Love Me,” and ending with “Sold: The Grundy County Auction,” song.
When he began playing his hit, “Letters From Home,” which is about a soldier receiving letters from his mother, he mentioned that several of his uncles had fought in the Korean Conflict and the Vietnam War and he remembered his grandmother always worrying about her sons being overseas. He dedicated that song to his uncles and “all the veterans out there.”
The crowd clapped their hands and stomped their feet as Montgomery interacted with the crowd. He told the audience that he was from a small town in Kentucky and had been involved with music all of his life. He sang both ballads and fast songs and the crowd enjoyed all of them. Several seats stood empty, but the crowd was lively and he was excited about helping the Hope High School Band get to Washington, D. C.
A big surprise was in store after he sang what everyone thought was his final song. He came out on stage again for an encore, complete with a standing ovation and the band lit up Hempstead Hall with Bob Seger's “Turn the Page.” He showed his electric guitar prowess as he played the song. After “Turn the Page,” he broke into a Stevie Ray Vaughn song, whom he said was one of his favorite singers. The singer then exited the stage once again, with a standing ovation following.
Backstage, Montgomery appeared to have enjoyed the show. When asked if he enjoyed the crowd and performing in Hope, he said, “This is a beautiful building and I really enjoyed the warm reception that I got in Hope. I want to thank the people who came out and I wish the band all the luck in the world in Washington, D. C. I would come back to Hope anytime someone asked me to.”
Montgomery took time before the concert and visited and took pictures with the Bobcat Band.