On Tuesday night (June 8th), the church pews of the famed Ryman Auditorium in Nashville, Tennessee were rumbling with all the energy of a revival: service was in session, hosted by one of the city’s most famous exports, Miley Cyrus.
A true homecoming, Cyrus spent the evening taping a Pride-themed special both grandiose and intimate in scale thanks to the venue’s capacity, which was just shy of 2,500 guests. The no-phone/camera show was ticketed via lottery exclusively to vaccinated residents of Music City — and Nashville came ready to dance.
Cyrus’ connection to the LGBTQ+ community is longstanding and well-documented. Her Happy Hippie foundation, a non-profit founded in 2014, is specifically dedicated to eliminating youth homelessness in the LGBTQ+ community and fostering positive spaces of inclusion and joy. The show was also MC’d by Kiley Sonique Love, queen and fan-favorite from Ru Paul’s Drag Race.
While joy was certainly a theme of the evening, and Cyrus seemed deliriously happy to be onstage in front of such a dynamic crowd, the artist also made multiple references to harmful legislation, calling out her home state of Tennessee and lawmakers throughout the country. Speaking up for this community has always been in her blood, it seems — maybe that comes with the territory of having Dolly Parton as a godmother.
Meanwhile, apart from trotting out fan favorites like “We Can’t Stop” and “The Climb,” Cyrus also performed some well-chosen, Pride-themed covers and invited some of Nashville’s finest to her stage to help out.
A surprise appearance from Orville Peck for an intimate rendition of The Chicks’ “Cowboy Take Me Away” brought the house down, while a particularly special moment with Brothers Osborne put T.J. Osborne center stage — in a rainbow shirt stamped with the word “FANCY,” no less. After recently coming out (making him the only openly gay artist signed to a major country label), the significance of T.J.’s presence on the historic country music stage was not lost on this glittering crowd.
There’s no doubt that this evening hosted the most rainbows The Ryman has ever seen, between the enthusiastic crowd and the feathered rainbow set behind Cyrus and her band onstage. Plus, Cyrus has never sounded better, and The Ryman’s famed acoustics made sure her signature rasp rang loud and clear.
The well-chosen set list, which also included an electric Madonna medley, highlighted the magic that skyrocketed Cyrus to superstardom in the first place. Between multiple shimmering costume changes, frequent reminders that Tennessee’s true values are inclusivity and hospitality, and the husky live vocals fans know and love, “Stand By You” was the amalgam of authenticity, gravity, and levity that only Cyrus could pull off.
All in all, the hometown show was the true definition of a Nashville party.
Catch Miley Cyrus: Stand By You streaming on Peacock beginning June 25.
Believe (Cher cover)
True Colors (Cyndi Lauper cover) (with Little Big Town)
My Heart Beats For Love
We Belong (Pat Benatar cover) (with Brothers Osborne)
Music / Express Yourself / Like a Prayer (Madonna cover)
Cowboy Take Me Away (The Chicks cover) (with Orville Peck)
Dancing Queen (ABBA cover) (with Maren Morris)
I’ll Stand By You (The Pretenders cover)
Heart of Glass (Blondie cover) (with Mickey Guyton)
We Can’t Stop
Party in the U.S.A.
Freedom (George Michael cover)
— Miley Ray Cyrus (@MileyCyrus) June 7, 2021