Stadium of Fire w/ Tim McGraw & Marie Osmond• July 2, 2022• Lavell Edwards Stadium
Reviewed and Photographed by Josilyn Wakkuri Lybbert
Tens of thousands of people happily braved high temperatures and filled Brigham Young University’s LaVell Edwards Stadium in Provo, Utah on July 2, 2022, for the sold-out Stadium of Fire. The big event for Provo’s America’s Freedom Festival. It was a night filled with patriotism, impressive acts, and good music provided by one of the biggest country music stars, Tim McGraw, and Utah’s own renowned entertainer, Marie Osmond. Oh, and the nation’s largest stadium firework show! The show was broadcast around the world for the enjoyment of members of the military and their families!
People decked out in their red, white, and blue flooded the blocked off streets around LaVell Edwards Stadium to get in for the show! All ages were represented on Saturday to enjoy the night’s events. The concourse around the stadium was filled with those finding their seats and getting a cold treat to keep cool! The show kicked off with an introduction from Jim Evans, the executive director for America’s Freedom Festival. Governor Spencer Cox followed Jim’s remarks, and he extended a welcome to all in attendance. He expressed sincere thanks to military service members and veterans as well as law enforcement officers, firefighters, and healthcare workers, which got a loud response of appreciation from the crowd!
The Stadium of Fire Dancers took to the field with an upbeat performance that not only included talented dancing but included synchronized drumming and props such as pompoms and novelty trumpets as well. The dancers opened the show at The Stadium of Fire, but they could also be seen throughout the night presenting the American flag and dancing along with the music presented by the rest of the night’s performers!
After the presentation of the colors, the audience all joined in saying The Pledge of Allegiance. Marie Osmond followed and stepped on stage for the first time of the evening to sing the National Anthem with the Stadium of Fire Chorus. Marie wore a beautiful red, glittery skirt and jacket, and white stars glowed in the background behind her. Her voice is still as strong and clear as ever. The performance of The Star Spangled Banner was so powerful. The Stadium of Fire Chorus added heavenly harmonies that resonated throughout the stadium and were a beautiful addition to the song.
During the National Anthem, some fireworks went off that were so loud that some say that the stadium shook! I’ll admit that they definitely took me by surprise! As the last note of the anthem was drawing to a close, the F-35 fighter jets zoomed over the stadium and were met by cheers from the crowd!
Following the flyover, Kyle Fox, Paul “Bud” Haedike, Charles and Esther Mully, Carlos and Vania Martins, and Stacey and Corey Hofman were honored for their various heroic contributions by way of military service or humanitarian accomplishments.
Before we knew it, Marie Osmond was back on stage with The Stadium of Fire Chorus. She had changed her outfit to a light colored, shimmery dress. Marie sang the song, “Climb Ev’ry Mountain,” from The Sound of Music (she played Maria in the broadway production of The Sound of Music in 1997), joined by the choir. After that song, she paid an emotional tribute to all in the military in attendance and watching via broadcast. She said that her love and appreciation for the military started when she was young due to her father’s service in World War II.
The choir left the stage, and then Marie sang The Andrews Sisters’ song, “Boogie Woogie Bugle Boy,” with a military hat on. She was joined on stage by lively dancers! The male dancers were dressed as soldiers, and the female dancers were dressed in vintage-style dresses to match the era of the song. Marie’s short, but entertaining set was met with joy and excitement! She is a natural-born performer, and her decades of experience radiated through performance!
Golden Knight Skydivers
When Marie exited the stage, the song, “God Bless the U.S.A.” by Lee Greenwood began to play. Those in attendance were encouraged to sing along, and they did! Many eyes were filled with tears reflecting the patriotism felt from not only their surroundings but the sweet lyrics of the song that most everyone was proudly singing. As the song played, a jet flew over the stadium and five Golden Knight skydivers jumped out of it! Not only were they parachuting through the air, but they had pyrotechnics attached to them as well! They let off a stream of gold as they drifted towards the ground. It was an epic sight to see them all floating through the air as they descended to their successful landings!
After the skydivers were all safely on the ground, Tim McGraw’s set began! The energy in the stadium kicked up and the excitement was apparent throughout the crowd! People poured out of the first few rows in an attempt to get closer to the stage. He kicked off his portion of the show with his upbeat song, “How Bad Do You Want It”. Which got the whole stadium up and moving! Up next was, “Something Like That,” which is one of his most popular songs and such a classic summer song! The crowd was dancing along and singing every word!
After a few songs, Tim said hello and said that at his shows, he doesn’t talk a lot and just plays a lot of music. Because that’s what people are there for anyways. He did just that! He filled up his time on The Stadium of Fire’s stage with hit after hit including, “Down on the Farm,” “Just to See You Smile,” “Real Good Man,” “Truck Yeah,” and, “I Like It, I Love It,” just to name a few! When he played the song, “Live Like You Were Dying,” the crowd went even wilder than they had been leading up to it! It’s not a particularly upbeat song, but it was clearly well loved and well known!
Everyone was singing loudly throughout the whole song! He stepped off stage and returned for an encore that started with, “The Cowboy In Me”. While he sang, clips from the TV show 1883 that he stars in played behind him.
Following that song, he sang another classic, “Indian Outlaw”. That hyped the crowd back up from the slower song before it! Tim’s final song was the emotion packed song, “Humble and Kind.” He encouraged people to turn on their flashlights on their phones, and the stadium gave off a glow that concert goers know well. The crowd sang along, and their voices resonated around the whole stadium! At the end of the song, the audience sang the chorus completely acapella, and it was beautiful! Tim McGraw provided a wonderful show filled with so many iconic country songs!
Following Tim’s set, Jenny Oaks Baker performed a riveting piece on the violin while fire dancers put on a crazy show! Fire was being thrown, twirled, and juggled! At one point, a fire dancer balanced on a giant ball as he performed his fire tricks! It had many on the edge of their seats! At the end, even Jenny’s violin produced fire!
Immediately after the fire dancing, the firework show began! The fireworks were synchronized to music which really added to the show. The first song was The Stadium of Fire theme song, and the songs that followed were themed by either songs involving fire or patriotism. The fireworks came in all shapes, sizes, and colors – but they were mostly gigantic! A few minutes of light shows were also incorporated with the firework display! It really lived up to its reputation as the largest stadium firework show in the nation!
The Stadium of Fire was a well-run, family-friendly event. The quality entertainment was constantly flowing and did a great job promoting patriotism and appreciation to those who serve or have served, our country. Tim McGraw and Marie Osmond provided great live music that really drew a crowd! It was a fun-filled night that won’t be forgotten for those in attendance, and even for those who watched via broadcast!