Blake Shelton pleasantly surprised by stoked crowd before brief pre-NASCAR set at TMS

·4 min read

Blake Shelton spoke for all of us during his brief set Sunday before NASCAR’s All-Star Race at Texas Motor Speedway.

He wasn’t sure how squeezing a concert between races would work.

Turns out, it was just fine for one of the biggest country music stars in the world. It just might’ve been a little too brief.

“You never really know what to expect when you play a gig like this,” Shelton said from a stage set up in the XFinity Garage in the middle of the infield at TMS. “It’s like, ‘are people going to be there? Are they going to show up? Is it going to suck?’”

Not at all, man. Several thousand fans packed the area in front of the stage while about 50,000 more watched from the grandstands and beyond.

“It doesn’t suck, man! This is badass. This is an actual real concert,” Shelton joked.

Shelton, who opened his set with “Neon Time” off his 2021 album “Body Language,” had to cut what was supposed to be an hour-long concert, by about 20 minutes after NASCAR’s open race ran a few minutes long. The driver introductions, of which Shelton gleefully participated to the delight of many fans on social media, had a hard start time of 6:30 p.m. and the race was scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. So the shorter show was understandable.

In fact, during his final song, the “Boys ‘Round Here,” from 2013’s “Based On a True Story…” Shelton suggested fans should start heading back to their seats ahead of the race. Singer RaeLynn, who was on hand to perform the National Anthem, dueted with Shelton on the song.

At one point during the set, Shelton joked that some of those up front could probably return to their seats because his wife Gwen Stefani was not in attendance.

Later, during the his set, which include the George Jones classic “Ol’ Red,” “God’s Country,” and “Come Back As a Country Boy,” he welcomed fans to sing along and film the proceedings.

“I was just thinking this would be even awesomer (SIC) because there are so many cameras on me right now, by the way. Oh my God, please put a filter on,” he joked. “If we had one of those moments right now at the NASCAR All-Star Race 2022, if I was doing one of those songs and y’all were all singing along.”

“And I’ll get some good reviews on Twitter. Because Twitter matters,” he deadpanned.

“Y’all might not even be country fans down here in Texas,” he sarcastically added.

Of course, that elicited a big laugh and roar from the crowd.

And the cameras went up and his five-piece band and back-up singer did the rest.

Shelton helped ignite the start of the 125-lap All-Star Race as the Grand Marshal and a very enthusiastic “Start your engines!” call at about 7:15 p.m.