The appearance was a total surprise for the 60,000 fans in attendance, who screamed in approval when the foursome made their way to the front of the massive stage at Nashville’s Nissan Stadium. Standing side-by-side and performing with only acoustic instruments to highlight their vocals, it was Cam’s first appearance on the CMA Fest’s main stage so she asked the fans to “scream extra loud,” and they happily obliged.
Her remorseful breakout hit “Burning House” was up first, with a dreamy four-part harmony line kicking in during the “sleepwalking” chorus that was way fuller feeling than the original version. The crowd let loose when Lady A’s Hillary Scott took the lead in the second verse, and again when Charles Kelley jumped in later on.
Then the song seemed to drop out, and Cam asked the crowd to hug each other and sing a whole chorus themselves. “Big breath y’all, this is our big moment on TV!” she encouraged, letting the audience rip in an impressive display of solidarity.
Unfortunately, the performance was being filmed for ABC’s CMA Music Festival: Country’s Night to Rock, and apparently the crowd singalong didn’t come through on tape. Despite being one of the most powerful moments of the night, it was scrapped and the song was tried again, this time without the singalong and lacking the electricity of that first take. It was still a beautiful rendition, though, and should sound great on TV.
Following that, the newly-formed supergroup took on Lady A’s mega-hit breakout, “Need You Now,” trading lines back and forth reminding everyone of how much they miss the trio. Luckily, Scott revealed earlier in the night that they have new music in the works. She and Cam paired nicely on the track, almost sounding similar at times, and the stadium erupted in cheers for a satisfying finish to a genuine CMA surprise.