Luke Bryan concert kicks off country music's biggest night - WKRN News 2

Luke Bryan kicks off country music's biggest night with free concert

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Fans lined up outside of Bridgestone Arena at 3 a.m. for Luke Bryan's free show. Fans lined up outside of Bridgestone Arena at 3 a.m. for Luke Bryan's free show.

The CMA Awards celebration started early Wednesday with a free concert by country music superstar Luke Bryan.

The performance in front of Bridgestone Arena aired on ABC's "Good Morning America."

The early morning wake-up call was tough for the Bryan.

"I'm one of those guys when you call me in the morning, I sound like a croakin' bullfrog," he told News 2, adding, "We had the BMI Awards last night, got in the bed about 1 [a.m.] and got up about 4 [a.m.] so I'm going to leave here, go lay down for hopefully a couple of hours. But that's this business!"

Fans, many of whom began lining up Tuesday night for the concert that began at 7:30 a.m., weren't too worried about Bryan's vocals.

When asked what made the artist such a big draw, Kimberly Deala of Nashville was hesitant to respond.  After being prodded by a friend, she bashfully admitted, "his body."

Another fan standing close by, Terri Stevens, spoke loudly to confirm it was Bryan's body that brought her and her daughter to Nashville from Mississippi.

As the plaza filled with people, mostly females, fans seemed to be carrying more signs than the traditional cowboy hats.

Steve Jeffords, of Maryland, was one of the few donning his Stetson and cowboy boots.

"We're becoming a rare breed, seems like," he said.

While the country duds were downplayed, the spirit of country music fans was alive and well.

"We've come and we're going to the CMAs," cheered Diana Smith, surrounded by her gal pals Rani Sondhi and Kathy Dunbar from Indiana.  "It's our first time. We're excited!"

The fandom wasn't limited to Bryan or the CMA Awards.   The crowd was also eager to see Robin Roberts.  The GMA anchor chatted briefly with News 2 This Morning about her brief time in Music City as a sports anchor in the late 80s and her appearance at this year's awards ceremony.

"Last year, I was watching from my sick bed," she said. "You fast forward a year, not only to be here but to be presenting one of the prestigious awards and having Luke Bryan kicking it all off this morning. Life is good!"

Roberts will present the Entertainer of the Year award, a category that includes Bryan.

Always the professional, Roberts refused to give any pre-show predictions.

"We've been really blessed. We've had them all on Good Morning America from time to time. They are all winners," she said.

During the GMA broadcast, Roberts announced winners of the Video of the Year and Music Event of the Year.  Both awards went to Tim McGraw and Taylor Swift for "Highway Don't Care."

Following Wednesday morning's concert, Bryan will open the 47th Annual CMA Awards at Bridgestone Arena Wednesday at 7 p.m. with Florida Georgia Line.

Live coverage from the CMA Awards red carpet will begin at 4 p.m. on News 2 and online at

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