The onus was on Luke Bryan to give the Thanksgiving Day crowd at AT&T Stadium something to cheer about. After a stately but low-key national anthem delivered by the Cowboys' go-to trumpeter, Freddie Jones, and an interception-marred first football half, the country superstar must have felt some extra pressure to brighten the general mood in the place.
If that was the only goal for Bryan's 6-minute halftime show, he easily succeeded. Joining a long line of A-list artists who've performed as part of the annual kickoff of the Salvation Army's Red Kettle Campaign, Bryan brought his party vibes and bro-country aesthetic back to North Texas just a few weeks after selling out Dallas' Gexa Energy Pavilion for two nights in a row in late October.
Bryan's halftime performance Thursday served as an effective microcosm of his live concert experience, opening with a snippet of the farmers anthem, "Kick the Dust Up," and continuing with Bryan's romantic hit "I Don't Want This Night to End." Then it was another upbeat boot-scooter, the unapologetically tacky "Country Girl (Shake it for Me)." And of course, during that final number, the Cowboys cheerleaders took the stage behind the singer to steal a little thunder.
Bryan was every bit the live dynamo fans have come to expect, jumping around constantly and doing an impressive spin move at the end before his final "Happy Thanksgiving!" shout-out. Good for him for singing live in the stadium, too, in an era when so many opt to lip-synch. Even if the vocals suffered the more Bryan moved, he never truly stumbled.
Bryan told Fox4 before the halftime gig that he looked forward to playing what might be the biggest TV audience of his career. With the way things have been going for the reigning Entertainer of the Year for both the ACM and CMA awards, it just might have served as a de facto audition for a future Super Bowl gig. And in case you're wondering, one of the performers for Super Bowl 50's halftime show will be revealed next Thursday night on CBS during the Packers-Lions game.