Jason Aldean & Luke Bryan Bring Their Kinda Party To NJ

Jason Aldean
My Kinda Party Tour
featuring Luke Bryan, DeeJay Silver, and Lauren Alaina

March 24, 2012
Izod Center, New Jersey

This past Saturday night was the long awaited My Kinda Party Tour stop in the swamps of Jersey which showcased two of Country Music’s new stars: Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.  The two artists, both from Georgia, probably never thought a few years ago that they would be able to fill an arena in Northern New Jersey, just across the Hudson River from New York City, but they did just that.  In fact, www.countrymusicislove.com just reported that Saturday night’s show “set a new record for a Country concert with more than 19,000 fans, breaking Shania Twain’s previous record of 15,749 in 2003.” 

The show started with a set from American Idol alum, Lauren Alaina.  I was unable to see her set, but was treated to seeing her stage presence during her tour-mates sets.  I walked in to the first of two sets by DeeJay Silver, a dj/remixer/producer who had the crowd entertained between acts. 

DeeJay Silver cranked out remixed versions of everything from Eric Church to LMFAO to Garth Brooks to Flo Rida.  I really enjoyed his craft because the songs he mashed up really worked well although the genre’s are so different.  I look forward to hearing more from DeeJay Silver and I believe he is on to something with his mind for music mash-ups. 


The lights went dim and rapper Flo Rida’s song “Good Feeling” played as the entire arena got on their feet.  Upon the large projection screen hanging high above the stage, a short video showed a Farmer in Georgia discussing how vital rain is to his life and crops.  This of course set up Luke Bryan’s mega-hit “Rain” which he emerged to from the back of the unique, but complicated stage set up. 

Luke has recently emerged as major name in country music, but has been steadily building his name over the past five or so years.  He played homage to all his hits off of his three albums thus far.  After “Rain”, he sang “Country Man”, then went on to “Someone Else Calling You Baby”.  Throughout his set he was extremely active, using all sides of the stage and interacting with the crowd. 

The one thing that truly stood out to me was the screams of the crowd.  I have been to well over 200 concerts and it is not often that the women in the crowd scream more than they sing.  Justin Timberlake, Enrique Iglesias, and the other pop heartthrob singers get that treatment, but this was the first country artist I’ve seen get that reaction.  Luke has become much more than a country artist, it was very clear.  And he played that up, to the woman’s delight, especially on his latest single, “Drunk On You”, where he did half the song acoustically (shaking his body and dancing playfully throughout), then fired it up with the band.

He did not forget about the men in the crowd as he shouted “where are my deer hunters at? Where are my beer drinkers at?” And followed it up with the bombastic “Drinking Beer and Wasting Bullets”.  He interacted with the crowd and really seemed gracious with the streams and cheers.  He stated how much it meant for him “for coming up here and playing across the river from the greatest city in the world”.  Much of the crowd, admist the screams, yelled out a similar ode to Bruce Springsteen as they would call out “Luuuuuuuuuke” between songs. 

He showcased his piano skills during his first ever #1 hit, “Do I” and a version of Adele’s “Someone Like You”.  He cranked out the inner rocker as he mashed up his first single “All My Friends” with Metallica’s “Enter The Sandman”.  He had the crowd in the palm of his hand as he had everyone singing to his latest number #1 “I Don’t Want This Night To End”.  But there was not a higher bit of energy the entire night than on his final song, an auto-tuned remix of “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”.

Not only did he shake it for the crowd, but he brought out Lauren Alaina, who did her own country girl dance (and poked fun at the way Luke dances).  And he brought two males from the crowd to attempt their own dances, which did not work out that well – and Luke really had a good time poking fun at their lack of skills. 

Overall he put forth one of the more spirited opening acts that I have witnessed. This man is very close to selling out arenas with his name at the top of the bill.

DeeJay Silver came back out to keep the crowd on their feet and energized for the headlining act. He did a great job at doing just that as portions of the crowd were fist pumping and “jersey turnpiking” to the club hits. By the time Jason Aldean took to the stage, the Izod Center was transformed into a full on party atmosphere. Wasting no time, Jason smashed right into “Johnny Cash”. 

Jason, for some reason, decided to slow things down a bit for the next three songs: “Big Green Tractor”, “Amarillo Sky” and “The Truth”.  Despite half the crowd losing a bit of their party tenacity, Aldean’s vocals proved to be enough to carry through.  He has such a brilliant live voice in which he can really showcase in all notes, whether it be high or low.  And in those three slower songs, I was mesmerized by the pipes he contains. 

Jason then told everyone to get back on their feet and “get as crazy as you want to Jersey!” – following it up with the vigorous “Crazy Town”.  The stage set up contained several moving projection screens suspended by wires on large cranes.  It also contained several areas on both sides where Jason could perch himself up and show himself to his fans.  There was no large screen behind the stage, as has been the custom for most artists.  Instead, he had a 360 degree stage where fans could sit behind the stage as well.  It was a cool setup and has allowed for Jason’s streak of record breaking crowds. 

After singing his latest single “Fly Over States”, he told the crowd he is finishing up a new album and wants to release it before the end of the year.  He then, abruptly, jumped off the front of the stage and ran through the crowd to the back area, where DeeJay Silver had been set up.  Then Luke Bryan jumped up on the platform with him. 

The crowd went nuts as the two stars ran through a fun acoustic set.  Jason asked Luke why the crowd was boo’ing him and he responded that he wasn’t being boo’ed, but getting his “Springsteen moment”.  He then sang a snippet of “Glory Days” by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band. 

The two friends discussed life in Georgia, their new found fame, drank some beers together and sang some classics like George Strait’s “Amarillo By Morning” and Tracy Lawrence’s “Time Marches On”.  Jason then explained how he was upset Luke was not including his favorite song by him in his set anymore.  They then made up for that omission by singing “We Rode In Trucks” together.  It was a special alternative set and I always love to see artists collaborating live.  What made it that much more special is how the two Georgia boys seem to really admire each other.

Jason returned to the main stage and pumped out a few more vocal delights, “Tattoos On This Town”, “Relentless” and the mega-hit “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, which originally features Kelly Clarkson.  Instead, he brought out a dressed up Lauren Alaina who did a great job with the very difficult vocals.

  Lauren really impressed me as she moved about the stage with the confidence of a veteran and Jason absolutely nailed his vocals giving everyone goosebumps. 

Jason did not slow things down any longer as he pumped out “My Kinda Party” and “She’s Country” as the final two songs of his set.  Drummer Rich Redmond displayed his often humorous yet very effective drumming skills throughout the two energetic anthems.  Jason left the stage for a short few minutes and returned for his encore.

As impressive as Jason’s live vocals are, his rapping skills are equally impressive.  He performed a perfect version of his rapid fire hip hop/country song “Dirt Road Anthem”.  Microphone in hand, Jason moved about the stage to the song with all the swagger and bravado of any rapper just over to the river in NYC.  The crowd helped Jason recover as they belted out the chorus to the catchy song. 

He finished things off with his first ever single, the John Rich written “Hicktown”.  He included all the extra verses and gave the crowd everything he had left.  Overall, Aldean brought a hell of a party to NJ, full of rocking country anthems, love songs, great vocals, a unique stage set up, and a cast of tour-mates that had something for every fan.  I look forward to seeing this same tour again and would highly suggest you don’t miss out on this party. 

Luke Bryan Setlist:

  1. Rain
  2. Country Man
  3. Someone Else Calling You Baby
  4. Drunk On You Acoustic
  5. Drunk On You
  6. Drinking Beer, Wasting Bullets
  7. If You Ain’t Here To Party
  8. Someone Like You (Adele Cover)
  9. Do I
  10. All My Friends (Enter the Sandman snippet)
  11. I Don’t Want This Night To End
  12. Country Girl (Shake It For Me) w/ Lauren Alaina

Jason Aldean Setlist:

  1. Johnny Cash
  2. Big Green Tractor
  3. Amarillo Sky
  4. The Truth
  5. Crazy Town
  6. Fly Over States
  7. Glory Days – with Luke Bryan (Bruce Springsteen cover)
  8. Amarillo By Morning – with Luke Bryan (George Strait cover)
  9. Time Marches On – with Luke Bryan (Tracy Lawrence cover)
  10. We Rode In Trucks with Luke Bryan (Luke Bryan cover)
  11. Tattoos On This Town
  12. Relentess
  13. Don’t You Wanna Stay (with Lauren Alaina)
  14. My Kinda Party
  15. She’s Country
  16. Dirt Road Anthem (ENCORE)
  17. Hick Town (ENCORE)


Watch The Throne Lives Up To the Hype In NJ

Watch The Throne
Jay-Z & Kanye West
Izod Center, East Rutherford, NJ
November 6, 2011

Wow.  I attended the Watch The Throne Tour stop in East Rutherford, New Jersey on Sunday Night expecting to see a great concert.  Instead, what I witnessed was a magical moment where two performers took their music to heights where no Hip-Hop artist had every taken it.  The show literally made me say “wow” out loud multiple times. 

The show did not begin until approximately 9:15 p.m. and there was no opening act.  As the crowd sat in their seats with the lights on you saw a stage with raised platforms in an almost maze-like manner, with two other platforms shaped like squares, and at least six men on a hanging trapeze fixture with gigantic lights and cameras.  Yet, no one knew exactly what was going to come next.  As the lights went dim, the “Throne” instrumental music that is heard between each of the tracks on the actual Watch The Throne album could be heard.  And you could see Kanye West walk to the squared platform on the right and Jay-Z to the one on the left.  Surpringsly, the first song of the night was “H.A.M”, a bonus track on the new album.  No one seemed to mind as all of a sudden, the two squared platforms started to rise and within a minute the two superstars were on cubes thirty feet in the air trading verses filled with bravado and swagger.  

The astounding 40 song setlist was perfectly planned.  It was a constant and entertaining trade off between Jay-Z and Kanye.  They performed songs together and then separately, each with an even amount of stage time.  Jay-Z clearly got more love from the crowd, most likely because the show was so close to where he grew up.  That’s not to say Kanye did not get love because the crowd was cheering and dancing right along with him as well. 

The two stars traded verses on the raised cubes to “H.A.M.”, “Who Gon Stop Me”, and “Welcome To the Jungle”.  At one point the cubes pictured both pitbulls barking and then transformed into giant fish tanks with great white sharks swimming in them.  It was truly amazing to witness these effects.  Once they finished these three songs, the cubes came back down to their starting level and the lights went dark.  For the next three minutes, “Try A Little Tenderness” by Otis Redding played over the speakers and a huge American Flag was spread along the main stage.  The two came out and ripped into “Otis” and the crowd went wild.

What I really loved about the show was the interaction between the two.  They genuinely looked like they were having a great time.  They were smiling and even traded lyrics on each other’s singles.  For instance, Kanye sang the lyrics as the police officer in the second verse of “99 Problems” and Jay-Z helped Kanye out on “Gold Digger”. 

In fact, after Jay-Z did “Big Pimpin”, Kanye stated to the crowd “Jay-Z was my hero growing up and I always wanted to be like him. But every time I would try to live Big Pimpin, I couldn’t because ….” and the speakers broke right into the Jamie Foxx chorus of “Gold Digger”: “she take my money”. The two shared what looked like a lot of good laughs to their obviously rehearsed song set ups. 

Jay-Z was the most interactive with the crowd that I have ever seen him.  He strolled around the stage in his typical coolness and got the crowd to put their hands in the air and make the “Roc Diamond” in the sky multiple times throughout.  Kanye had a lot less interaction, but really showed a lot of emotion during his songs dancing like a maniac and giving it his all. 

All throughout the show, large amounts of pyrotechnics were used and the dual stages were utilized.  Kanye used the large platform on the left of the arena for a three song set highlighted by the effectious “Stronger”.  Most people seemed to take a bathroom break during the autotuned “Heartless”.  I could have done without that fairly lackluster tune. 

I really enjoyed their rendition of “Diamonds From Sierra Leon” and “Monster”, two songs from Kanye’s past solo albums.  The two have a natural showmanship and do things so differently, yet the combination at the same time is an amazing transformation.  Kanye is self absorbed rapper, dressed in a leather kilt; Jay-Z is the crowd pleaser dressed simply in his trademark Yankee hat, black shirt and jeans.  They are so different, but somehow when they blend their styles, sure genuis is the result. 

Another great moment was when the two slowed things down and sat next to each other on the stage.  They rapped to “New Day” and “Hard Knock Life” while sitting down as if they were just old friends sharing a moment.  It came across as genuine and really showcased the real love they have for each other.

Three of the last four songs played was their latest #1 on the Billboard Charts, “****** In Paris”.  When the clip of Will Ferrel from his movie “Blades of Glory” came on, the energy in the building amplified to a ridiculous level.  The two blasted into the song and the crowd responded by jumping up and down.  The entire building was shaking, it was truly a sight to behold.  They finished the song once and Jay-Z stated “**** it, let’s do again” and they went right back to it. 

The two left the stage for a brief minute and came back out for an encore.  They went right back to “Paris” and no one in the building seemed to mind.  They finished their masterpiece with Jay-Z’s “Encore” and the crowd was heard chanting “Hova, Hova Hova …” on repeat in honor of the superstar.  They finished up with Jay-Z thanking the crowd and walked off together into the dark. 

While most of the concert was absolutely brilliant, there were a few minor things that were a bit strange.  First, was Kanye’s choice of clothing.  At first he was wearing a t-shirt with his face on it, a leather kilt, leather tights, and basketball sneakers.  He then changed halfway through into an atrocious sweater, yet decided to keep the kilt on.  Also, there were images on the two giant HD screens that were confusing.  At one point there was a police chase where police cars were getting blown up and crashed into.  Then duing “No Church In the Wild”, there were images of the Klu Klux Klan – quite disturbing. 

But all in all, out of the 200 plus concerts that I have attending in my lifetime, this one ranks up there in the top few.  The stage design, the pyrotechnics, the setlist, and special effects all lived up to the hype that “Watch The Throne” has been receiving.  I cannot wait until I see their show at Madison Square Garden tomorrow night.  All I can say is wow. 


  1. H.A.M. 
  2. Who Gon Stop Me
  3. Otis
  4. Welcome To the Jungle
  5. Gotta Have It
  6. Where I’m From
  7. Jigga What, Jigga Who
  8. Can’t Tell Me Nothing
  9. Flashing Lights
  10. Jesus Walks
  11. Diamonds From Sierra Leone Remix
  12. Public Service Announcement
  13. U Don’t Know
  14. Run This Town
  15. Monster
  16. Power
  17. New Day
  18. Hard Knock Life
  19. H to the Izzo
  20. Empire State of Mind
  21. Runaway
  22. Heartless
  23. Stronger
  24. On To the Next One
  25. Dirt Off My Shoulder
  26. I Just Wanna Love You
  27. That’s My B****
  28. Good Life
  29. Touch The Sky
  30. All Of The Lights
  31. Big Pimpin’
  32. Gold Digger
  33. 99 Problems
  34. What A Wonderful World
  35. No Church in the Wild
  36. Lift Off
  37. ****** In Paris
  38. ****** In Paris
  39. ****** In Paris
  40. Encore



Who Gon Stop Me

****** In Paris
U Don’t Know
On To The Next One
Jigga What, Jigga Who
Diamonds Remix
99 Problems
H To the Izzo
Empire State of Mind