Darius Rucker’s pop-up beachfront show was a hoot

High on Life

Darius Rucker’s pop-up CMT Instant Jam concert at the Windjammer last night was like an MTV Spring Break experience: the audience’s feet in the sand, blinding stage lights, video camera cranes, Bud Lights (and Hootie’s Homegrown Ale) flowing. And with the Atlantic Ocean as his backdrop, the Hootie & the Blowfish frontman put on an undeniably great, energetic show.

Rucker couldn’t have been in a better mood. He had jazz hands. He had dance fever. He had a smile almost too big for that little island to contain. And the more he drank, the bigger his perma-grin grew.

Clearly high on his sweet life, the singer continuously praised country radio, the Windjammer, and Charleston, repeatedly declaring it the greatest city in the world. And once he was good and buzzed, Rucker also blasted the intrusive construction of condos on the peninsula and may have even let a fun f-bomb or two fly in the process.

The country star performed all of his country radio favorites, including “Southern Style,” “Good for a Good Time,” “Homegrown Honey,” and “Come Back Song,” during which he stopped the show to attend to a fan who was overheated in the front row.

Rucker also sang an emotional “So I Sang,” Tim McGraw’s “I Miss Back When,” and Old Crow Medicine Show’s “Wagon Wheel,” while Hootie’s own Mark Bryan joined the band for old-school hits like “Let Her Cry” and “Only Wanna Be with You.”

In a heartfelt speech that silenced the crowd, Rucker also addressed the Emanuel shooting, commending the city on how it reacted to the tragedy before he led the audience in “Amazing Grace.” 

Toward the close of the show, Rucker covered “Family Tradition” and reminisced on his days in Columbia performing at Pappy’s, which is where he first sang the Hank Williams Jr. track. He also covered John Cougar Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses” and … wait for it: Blackstreet’s “No Diggity.”

Oh, yes he did — and it was awesome.

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