Friday night, Zach and Carolina Panthers star running back Christian McCaffrey hosted their ’22 and Troops’ benefit concert at The Fillmore in Charlotte, North Carolina… and they all but blew the roof clean off the building.
The duo played for a completely sold out crowd in an effort to raise money for the Christian McCaffrey Foundation, which supports both active duty and veteran military members who have suffered from PTSD as a result of their service.
As both a panthers fan and massive fan of country music, I have to say, I was more than thrilled to be able to go to the show and see it in person. When I tell you that it was absolutely incredible, that may even be an understatement.
Not only did I get to see one of my favorite artists and football players (who happens to double as a musician) playing incredible music together, they supported such an incredible cause.
You could feel the energy in the room. I overheard someone remark as I walked in that most of the people there were probably there for Christian, seeing as we were in Charlotte, but I’m telling you, those people knew every word of Zach’s songs.
In an interview with the Panthers prior to the show, Christian talked about what he loved about Zach’s music and why it resonated with him so deeply after first hearing “Heading South”:
“I loved it right away. That’s the kind of music I like. Words that mean something. You can hear it in his voice how much he means what he’s saying. He’s got a unique voice, and it’s more than just country.
I relate to a lot of the songs in a lot of ways, so it’s easy listening for me. Also, I thought it was cool, I heard that song after living in the South for a few years now and that song is true.
The South is a hell of a place, especially North Carolina.”
Christian is my kind of people.
It’s cool hearing a guy like him speak so highly of one of the brightest young stars in the industry right now, and I love both of them, so this was all a really unique experience for me. I don’t think I would’ve ever put them together a couple months ago, but I have a feeling they’re going to do a lot of amazing work going forward.
And, seeing as it’s 4th of July weekend and we have a lot to celebrate in terms of our freedoms and privileges as Americans, one of the best moments of the nights came when everyone chanted “USA” along with Zach, who’s currently deployed as an active-duty member of the U.S. Navy:
It’s chanting USA with two thousand people for me last night
Of course, I’m not going to leave you without a few videos of Christian on the keys, who managed to seamlessly blend in as a member of the band. Also, shoutout to Zach’s badass fiddle player and whole entire band. They were awesome.
A couple of times, I almost forgot Christian was the one playing. I knew he played piano as a hobby, but I had no clue how damn good he really was.
And him playing during one of my personal favorites, “Condemned”:
The energy in the room was palpable, and it really is refreshing to see that real deal country still has an important place in the landscape of music that people resonate with.
It was the first time I’d ever seen Zach live before, too, and damn he puts on a hell of a show. I know he doesn’t get out on the road super often right now, but if you ever get the chance, make sure you get your ass to a show.
Lastly, here’s my absolute favorite video of them playing “Revival” towards the end of the concert. Christian even has his own little piano solo during the song that blew me away.
If this doesn’t get you excited and give you hope for country music, then I really don’t know what will. I need this injected directly into my veins:
I wish there was a way for everyone to hear all of the music they played. It was such a special night, and I kept thinking I wished they did a live recording and made some sort of live CD that people could buy who couldn’t make it as a way to raise more money for the foundation.
At the very least, I hope the benefit concert is something they continue to do in some capacity going forward. I know they’re both very busy people with their day jobs, but who knows… maybe one day they could write a song together or even go on tour.
It’s obvious that they’ve already started to build a great friendship over the last several months, and they’re clearly both great guys. It just gives you hope in humanity to see things like this in today’s world:
@CMC_22 is one of the kindest, most humble human beings I’ve ever talked to. He let us overstay our welcome and welcomed every second. He’s apart of a legacy and praying with him before the show last night was something I’ll never forget. Nothing but love to Charlotte and him
All of the money from the night is going towards the efforts of the 22 and Troops initiative that’s part of the foundation.
The 22 and Troops auction is still going on the website until July 17th, so if you want to be a part of supporting a great effort and weren’t able to make it last night, you can bid on tons of cool stuff there (like Eric Church concert tickets), or simply donate whatever amount you choose to their awesome cause.
It really was one of those special, once in a lifetime shows that I know I’ll never forget, and I don’t think anyone else that was in the room Friday night will either.
And, a massive thank you to all of the veterans and active-duty members of the military who have sacrificed everything for us. We appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.