New Year’s Eve ‘Bash’ rings in 2023, celebrates Music City’s appeal

An estimated 210,000 attendees gathered at Nashville’s Bicentennial Park on an unseasonably warm winter evening to ring in New Year’s Eve during the CBS-televised “New Year’s Eve: Nashville’s Big Bash” event.

Headliner Kelsea Ballerini joined the Zac Brown Band, Brooks and Dunn and event organizers the Fisk Jubilee Singers to showcase more than 150 years of excellence in Music City entertainment. Celebrations included the midnight drop of the lighted musical note over the stage in the park, as well as an extensive fireworks display.

The audience joined in at times during the six-hour program, which featured music of the timeless sing-a-long variety.

Brooks and Dunn performed an extensive set, including the classics “Brand New Man” and “Neon Moon.” Most entertaining, however, were the humorous, impromptu interactions between the veteran duo and their seasoned band as they waited for live feeds from CBS directors and producers during their set.

A cloud of smoke lingers as fireworks are ignited during Jack Daniel's New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash at Bicentennial Park in Nashville, Tenn., Sunday, Jan. 1, 2023.

Also of note, The War and Treaty – the 2022 Americana Music Award Duo of the Year – joined the Zac Brown Band to deliver a rousing rendition of Aerosmith’s half-century rock classic, “Sweet Emotion.” That, along with their recent Country Music Association Awards duet with The Brothers Osborne on The Rolling Stones’ “It’s Only Rock’n’Roll (But I Like it)” and their 2021 Academy of Country Music Awards appearance with Dierks Bentley for a U2 cover “Pride (In The Name Of Love),” continues the vocal tandem’s history of collaborations to create an extended star-making moment in country music.

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“People coming together to celebrate the power of music is exciting,” Zac Brown Band member Coy Bowles noted before “Nashville’s Big Bash.” “A raucous crowd will see us, excited, playing not just the hits – but giving them everything we’ve got.”

Zac Brown of the Zac Brown Band performs during Jack Daniel's New Year's Eve Live: Nashville's Big Bash at Bicentennial Park in Nashville, Tenn., Saturday, Dec. 31, 2022.

Also vital to “Nashville’s Big Bash” were co-hosts Jimmie Allen and Elle King. Allen’s trademark fashion sense was accentuated with a black leather duster and leather pants, an elaborately weathered red cowboy hat, red rhinestone belt and red leather boots. King continued her emerging tradition of wearing custom-made western suits with intricately embroidered designs. In this case, her suit was red and black and matched Allen’s ensemble.

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