It was a star-spangled (and star-filled) evening Saturday as Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks Spectacular treated viewers to a bevy of musical performances and, of course, those fireworks over the New York City skyline.
Dierks Bentley, Kelly Clarkson, Ed Sheeran, Brad Paisley and Flo Rida were among the musical guests, performing on stages in New York and around the country for the NBC special hosted by the TODAY show’s Willie Geist and Tamron Hall.
We’ve rounded up some of the Spectacular’s top moments, including some of the stars’ sentiments on what it means to be an American on the patriotic holiday.
* Dierks Bentley kicking off the show in New York with a performance of “Drunk on a Plane” in front of a flag-waving crowd. He also sang “Riser” later in the show.
* Kelly Clarkson, in a blue sequin dress, belting out “Heartbeat Song” and “Invincible” in Nashville.
* Bentley, speaking about the American flag and what it represents: “To me, it’s the greatest country in the world”
* A double dose of Flo Rida performances — first, “I Don’t Like It, I Love It” with Robin Thicke, and “Going Down for Real” later in the telecast.
* Ed Sheeran (not wearing a red coat this time) singing “Thinking Out Loud” from the Greek Theatre in California to a screaming crowd. The show later returned to him and his guitar for a performance of “Photograph.”
* Brad Paisley rocking all the way to the “River Bank” from San Diego, and again later with “Crushin’ It.”
* Clarkson: “The key thing for us is having choice, and I don’t think everybody has choice all the time in different countries. I think, traveling so much, I get to experience that on such a deeper level, then you get back home and you’re just so thankful for what we are as a nation, and what we’ve become, and what we’re still gonna be.”
* From his concert at Tanglewood in Lenox, Massachusetts, James Taylor performing “Angels of Fenway” and “Country Road.”
* Flo Rida: “What I love about Americans and America is the freedom, the diversity and different cultures being able to come together under one flag.”
* Paisley: “It’s hard to pin down what I love most about America. It has to be freedom. It has to be the ability to be who you want to be and live where you want to live, decide what career path you want to follow, all those things.”
* The fireworks! Pyrotechnics lit up the sky from four barges near Midtown Manhattan, and one below the Brooklyn Bridge, to music from the U.S. Air Force Band, CeCe Winans, Rodney Atkins, and Emilio and Gloria Estefan.