Olympic ice skating champion Scott Hamilton firmly believes that when you combine the best skaters in the world with outstanding live music, it’s an unbeatable one-two punch. That double play duo comes to life with the third annual “Scott Hamilton & Friends” spectacular, which heads to Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Sunday, November 18th.
For this year’s event, Hamilton will again be joined by award-winning singer Sheryl Crow and Olympic champion skater Kristi Yamaguchi as co-hosts. “I’m the sports department,” quips Hamilton in his usual upbeat tone. “And Sheryl is the entertainment department.” Loosely translated, that means that Hamilton is responsible for the skating talent while his good friend Crow takes care of the music end. And for the 2018 show, it’s easily stated that the music has been ramped up a few notches.
In addition to Crow, CMA award-winning acts Florida Georgia Line and Brothers Osborne will be on the bill, along with legendary guitarist Steve Cropper, Bart Millard of MercyMe and Tommy Shaw, best known as the guitarist for rock bands Styx and Damn Yankees. “Sheryl got Brothers Osborne for this year,” Hamilton says. “My wife is pretty good friends with [Florida Georgia Line member] Tyler Hubbard, and we were able to reach out to him. Bart and I have built a really great friendship over the years. And we did a similar show in Cleveland with the full band Styx, and Tommy said that he would like to jump in and be a part of this. You always want to freshen things up every year,” Hamilton adds, “and this year is gonna rock. It might even get loud!”
The musicians will perform while the world’s best Olympic and national champion skaters show their prowess on the ice. Hamilton has seen an uptick in local skating interest, especially among young people, with the success of the Nashville Predators NHL hockey squad and his own Scott Hamilton Skating Academy, which makes ice skating available to all members of the community. “Scott Hamilton & Friends” provides a special, up-close opportunity for youngsters to see their skating heroes in person.
“I remember we used to go to ice shows when I was growing up,” Hamilton, a native of Toledo, Ohio, warmly recalls. “When you’re a little kid and you see skating done at its best, you can’t wait to get back on the ice. We have just a great group of skaters this year.” That lineup includes 2-time Olympic Silver Medalist Patrick Chan, Olympic Ice Dance Gold Medalists Tessa Virtue and Scott Moir, Olympic Ladies Bronze Medalist Kaetlyn Osmond and many others. The evening will also feature a performance by local skaters.
As many of Hamilton’s followers are aware, he is a cancer survivor, having battled both testicular cancer and a bout with a benign brain tumor. In 2016, he announced that he had received another brain tumor diagnosis, but the tumor has since shrunk.
In the past several years, Hamilton has become an advocate for cancer research and awareness. Proceeds from “Scott Hamilton & Friends” benefit the Scott Hamilton CARES Foundation, designed to fund advanced, innovative cancer research.
Putting that elaborate show together is basically a year-long process, and Hamilton credits the team around him for making the night go smoothly. “There are so many moving parts,” Hamilton shares with a laugh, “and it’s kind of miraculous how it all comes together. We do have a talented team that knows how to get it done. Sheryl, who is a cancer survivor herself, handles everything that happens on the stage and I could not be more blessed to have her.”
With “Scott Hamilton & Friends,” fans can expect a show that’s exciting and enjoyable for all ages. “It’s a very family friendly evening,” he says proudly. “There is really nothing else like it. You have great music and when you put the Olympic component on top of it – it’s just great entertainment.”
“Scott Hamilton & Friends” takes place Sunday, November 18th, at Bridgestone Arena, starting at 5 p.m. Tickets are available through Ticketmaster and the Bridgestone box office.