By the Way

Florida Georgia Line rocked Biloxi — were you there?

Emily Crawford, Sun Herald reporter Jeff Clark and Mike Crawford visit with Florida Georgia Line at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017.
Emily Crawford, Sun Herald reporter Jeff Clark and Mike Crawford visit with Florida Georgia Line at the Mississippi Coast Coliseum on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. Courtesy

So let’s get this out of the way — I’m a huge Nelly fan.

There’s something about his smooth early to mid-2000s hip hop that I really appreciate. I like the first album, the song from “Bad Boys II’ — even the song where Tim McGraw sounds like he’s singing in a tin can.

When I heard Nelly was in financial trouble, I spent an entire day listening to his songs on Spotify, hoping we would get some change in his pocket from my marathon. #SaveNelly, y’all.

Country rockers Florida Georgia Line, who have recorded with Nelly — more on that in a bit — brought their huge multi-truck production of the Dig Your Roots Tour, which featured a total of three opening acts, to the Mississippi Coast Coliseum in Biloxi on Thursday. This was their first show on the Coast since 2014.

Thursday’s FGL show was the first concert for my friend Emily, who is a 15-year-old student at Pass Christian High School. Emily attended the show with her mom, dad and sister.

FGL’s team was kind enough to arrange for me to take Emily and her dad to get a photo with band before the show.

She’s a very outgoing person and she had as much fun meeting people waiting in line to meet the band as she did meeting Brian Kelley and Tyler Hubbard. And there were a lot of people in line for the meet and greet. Please note: If you are going to attend a FGL meet and greet, you will be required to use some hand sanitizer provided by the band’s crew. I don’t blame them — they would be shaking a lot of dirty hands without the sanitizer.

I saw my friend Renee in the meet and greet line. I had sat next to her just last week at the Billy Joel show in New Orleans. What are the odds I would run into her again? But I did, so I chatted with her while we waited.

I also had a nice conversation with young Jackson Gates of Wiggins while in the meet and greet line. Jackson, 8, was there with his mom. He told me his favorite FGL song was “Cruise,” so we had that in common. I tried to tell him a story of when I was 9 or 10 and my parents took me to see Willie Nelson at Humphrey Coliseum in Starkville. He just nodded politely because he’s a good kid and his parents taught him not to make fun of old people like myself.

Regardless of how great the show was, Brian and Tyler were extremely nice and kind to Emily at the meet and greet. And that’s all that matters. They were polite and compassionate to a young fan. They are good guys.

From the opener of “This is How We Roll,” the band had the crowd on their feet. It was one of the more high-energy shows country shows I’ve seen. This was as much a rock show as a country show.

But back to Nelly.

The band ended the night with “Cruise” — I hope my young friend Jackson was still awake at that point of the night. Before they played “Cruise,” FGL performed a medley that included a bit of “Everybody” by the Backstreet Boys and the Nelly jam “Ride Wit Me.” It’s was the perfect ending to the night.

I received a message from Emily’s mom early Friday morning letting me know that she danced all night long. That’s the best thing I could have heard.

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