YouTube: Peacock

Miley Cyrus' Nashville Pride Concert Featured a Cast of Country Stunners

On June 25, the streaming service Peacock released a free, hour-long concert event in honor of Pride Month: Miley Cyrus Presents Stand By You, hosted by the punk-pop-country idol herself and filmed at Nashville's historic Ryman Auditorium. In recognition of the LGBTQ community, the celebratory production featured big-name special guests like Brothers Osborne, Mickey Guyton, Little Big Town, Maren Morris, and Orville Peck. Produced by Den of Thieves and Hopetown Entertainment (a company owned by Miley and her mother Tish Cyrus), the entire Peacock Pride Concert is available to stream here. And you can watch some spectacular clips below!

Highlights From the 'Stand By You' Pride Concert

During a bleak year, Miley Cyrus has managed to truly reinvented herself — and shine. The Disney kid-turned-provocateur has always had a strong voice. But how exactly she'd put that to use was never quite clear. Sure, there were the hokier ballads of her Hannah Montana days, like "The Climb," which reveled in the Cyrus country roots. And pop hits like "Party in the USA" and "We Can't Stop." But Cyrus' presence waned often. That is, until October 2020, when her rendition of Blondie's "Heart of Glass" went viral. A total pop-cultural reckoning followed, and in the past eight months, Cyrus has generated a greater following through stirring rock covers. She's collaborated with role models like Joan Jett, Billy Idol, and Stevie Nicks and that growth is captured fittingly on her latest album, the eclectic Plastic Hearts.

The Stand By You Pride concert special showcases Cyrus' progress, and highlights her sparkly promise. She still understands the power of a good cover; few original songs were played throughout the event. As Cyrus and friends reinvigorated beloved hits with fresh energy, the parade-like performance had the effect of a really great drag show. To transform the Ryman Auditorium into an LGBTQ+ space, to play with the classics, and to invite new, cross-genre collaborations... it all felt true to the event's overarching theme.

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The Madonna Medley!

It doesn't take much to see that Madonna, the OG Material Girl, is an obvious influence on Miley Cyrus. Just look at that rhinestone onesie! Fittingly, Cyrus paid tribute to the elder pride pop queen with a spirited medley of "Music," Like a Prayer," and "Express Yourself."

Pride & Country

Cyrus kicked off the show, first, with a twangy monologue paying homage to the Tennessee location... and led directly into "Believe" by Cher. Because, well, you can't exactly start a Pride show without a big, glamorous dose of Cher. Dancing onstage amidst a line of drag queens, Cyrus got down to those familiar auto-tuned vocals. And the audience was loving it. After a long, painful, and socially distant year, it's clear that attending Stand By You at the Ryman Auditorium was a collective and joyous experience. As Cyrus put it:

"Everybody's welcome here... after this last year-and-a-half, I think we could all use some good ole entertaining escapism. And I'm just happy and honored that I can be the one to serve an hour of flamboyant fantasy, honey! But the LGBTQ+ community that we are here to celebrate and honor is constantly experiencing the struggles that some of us have only had to face to Covid-19 such as isolation, being distanced or removed from our families, or feeling a loss of freedom in lockdown. Hate and injustice and inequality, it's a global pandemic all on its own."

It was a sober message following the opening number's unbridled glee. But one which Cyrus intended to center throughout the night of celebration; her nonprofit Happy Hippie seeks to combat youth homelessness, specifically within the LGBTQ+ community. In keeping with that tone, Cyrus then welcomed Little Big Town to the stage: a country crew who Cyrus identified as allies to the community. Together, the five musicians offered a strong and emotional cover of "True Colors" by Cyndi Lauper.

Following the appearance of Little Big Town, Cyrus continued to draw on the power of country. With the Brothers Osborne, she sang Pat Benatar's "We Belong." Intertwined with the country duo's mellow baritone, Cryus' unique pitch lifted the song to new emotional heights. Similarly, her duet of "Cowboy Take Me Away" with Orville Peck entirely reframed the love song. The choice honored not only The Chicks — a groundbreaking trio that they are — while distinctly queering the message. Peck's careful costuming — a royal purple suit, ten-gallon hat, and characteristic fringe mask — was emblematic of the show at large, which both inverted and embraced country stereotypes.

Read More: Orville Peck Covers "Cowboys Are Frequently, Secretly Fond of Each Other"

After Peck left the stage, Cyrus indulged in some lady-on-lady duets which were just plain fun: Abba's "Dancing Queen" with country cutie Maren Morris and (Cyrus' fan-favorite track) "Heart Of Glass" with the trailblazer Mickey Guyton. Between those highly-anticipated acts, Cyrus also performed "I'll Stand By You" by the Pretenders, solo: a serious contrast that reenforced the meaning of the night's event. After watching that show-stopping ballad, there's no question why the sweet song lent its title to the colorful Pride affair. View the concert, in full and for free, online.

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