Julie James

It's not very often that a concert in Cedar Rapids features artists that have never played in the city before, but that's exactly what happened Friday night. Everyone in the sold-out crowd would agree, it was worth the wait.

Brett Young very quickly lost his voice six nights ago during a show in Sioux City and had to leave the stage. He was crushed and told me before tonight's show in Cedar Rapids, "It was the weirdest thing. I've never had anything like that happen before... I'm about 80 to 85 percent tonight." His 85 percent was nothing short of fantastic as the crowd roared throughout his 45-minute set and each one of his five consecutive number one songs. The crowd sang along heartily, but 'In Case You Didn't Know' and 'Mercy' brought the singalong to new decibel levels.

When Kelsea Ballerini hit the stage, I was immediately taken back to August of 2008. That's when Taylor Swift commanded the U.S. Cellular Center stage in much the same way Kelsea did tonight. Just like her good friend, Kelsea combines great songwriting, tremendous talent, wonderful stage presence, and an appreciation for her fans. Kelsea's meet-and-greet line before the show was a very long one and I'd bet you anything that each one of the people in that line received a hug. A hug initiated by Kelsea herself. Taylor left her hometown for Nashville at age 14 and Kelsea at 15. There are many similarities, I just hope Kelsea sticks with country music. We'd like to keep her and we can't wait 'til she performs in Cedar Rapids again.

Oh, and remember what I said about Kelsea and her fans? KHAK listener Lana Wheeler tweeted at Kelsea yesterday, asking about free tickets for an early Mother's Day night out with her daughter, Erika. It caught Kelsea's eye who quickly obliged: