Lil Nas X, Chase Rice to perform at Stanley Cup Final
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By STEPHEN WHYNO
"Old Town Road" is coming to the Stanley Cup Final.
Lil Nas X will perform the top song in the world Monday in Boston as part of the pregame festivities before the series between the Bruins and St. Louis Blues gets underway. The NHL announced Friday Lil Nas X and country singer Chase Rice as the artists who will play at Boston's City Hall Plaza before Game 1.
"The place is going to go berserk, I'm pretty sure," NHL chief content officer and executive vice president Steve Mayer said. "Everybody knows the song. The song is played in all our arenas, and the reaction to the song has been just incredible."
"Old Town Road" has spent seven weeks as the top song on the Billboard Hot 100 chart. Mayer said the artist's representatives reached out several months ago to promote the song for in-arena use, which led to the league getting him for the final.
Rice, whose song "Eyes On You" peaked at No. 3 on the country music chart, will open the musical act part of the show around 6 p.m. The game starts at 8 p.m.
A longtime hockey fan, Rice performed during player introductions at the NHL All-Star Skills Competition in Tampa last year. Mayer said Lil Nas X's manager is a 25-year New York Rangers season ticket holder and that the rapper will wear a Bruins jersey on stage and attend the game.
"Just to have him in the building for a Stanley Cup Final, I think he'll fall in love," Mayer said. "If you're going to see your first hockey game, that's a pretty good game to go to."
When the series shifts to St. Louis for Game 3 on June 1, Mayer said, the NHL is planning an outdoor sing-along of Laura Branigan's "Gloria," which has become the Blues' victory song. St. Louis native and former contestant on "The Voice" Kennedy Holmes will lead it at 5:49 p.m. - a time specially picked because it's the Blues' first trip to the Stanley Cup Final in 49 years.
Grammy Award-winning R&B artist Gary Clark Jr. is set to be among the performers in St. Louis, with other NHL announcements to come. Mayer said five blocks of Market Street between the arena at the Gateway Arch will be closed and local officials estimate a crowd of at least 20,000 before the first Cup Final game in the city since 1970.
Follow AP Hockey Writer Stephen Whyno on Twitter at https://twitter.com/SWhyno
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Updated May 24, 2019