Brad Paisley Proves He Will Be Hard To Beat This Summer

Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer Tour
Featuring Lee Brice, Chris Young & The Henningsens
Comcast Theater, Hartford, Connecticut
Saturday, May 18, 2013

Connecticut opened its 2013 outdoor concert series on Saturday night with Brad Paisley’s Beat This Summer Tour and flocks of country music fans packed Hartford’s Comcast Theater.  What followed included hours of entertainment headlined by one of country music’s finest performers.  This leg of the tour includes four acts, countless hits, and a production value that is second to none. 

I started my night by talking with Lee Brice at his meet and greet.  He told me that he is excited about his new single, “Parking Lot Party” and is currently creating a new album.  He further stated a single from the new material would be released early in 2014 and an album should be out by the end of Spring/early Summer, 2014.  Lee is easily one of the nicest artists I’ve ever met and this time was no different. 

I was also able to meet Chris Young.  He also seemed excited when talking about his new single, “Aw Naw”.  He, like Lee, looks forward to releasing new material and said he wants his new song to run its course before releasing anything new.  He said he expects his new album will be out by the end of the year. 

 
 
It was truly a pleasure to get to meet and talk with Brad Paisley.  He is truly a megastar in every sense of the word.  However, when talking with him one-on-one you would hardly think he envisions himself that way.  He is very humble, soft spoken and personable.  We talked about playing the guitar and he gave me a few hints to improve my new found hobby.  After all, who better to get advice on guitar playing than the master himself?   
 

I, unfortunately, missed the Henningsens performance as I was in the Lee Brice meet and greet while they performed.  I look forward to seeing them in the future.  I walked into the PIT section just as Lee Brice was launching into “Parking Lot Party”.  Lee has that it factor that will undoubtedly make him a star.  He combines passion, power and versatility that is rare in today’s music world. 

On songs like “I Drive Your Truck” and “Love Like Crazy”, the lyrics tug at your emotions and his delivery is so genuine that you can tell he feels the music as much as the listener does.  He has an emotional side and also a party persona that works perfectly in an outdoor country music setting. 

Lee was extremely impressive throughout his entire half hour set.  Each time I have seen him live has convinced me further that he on the road to stardom.  He was extremely active on stage and used the catwalk to his advantage.  I look forward to more from Lee Brice and fully expect him to rise to headliner status in the next few years. 

Chris Young was up next and I was only able to catch a bit of his set due to my time with Brad Paisley backstage.  However, Chris showcased the deep vocals that have made him a mainstay on country radio.  His baritone nature was exemplary on “Gettin’ You Home” and “Voices”  His new single, “Aw Naw” has an infectious chorus that is sure to be yet another hit.  He isn’t the most active performer on stage as he lets his vocals do most of the work. 

At about 9 p.m., it was finally time for the headliner to hit the stage and Brad Paisley came out swinging.  His most recent #1 hit “Southern Comfort Zone” was first on an impressive setlist and it was immediately apparent that he brought out all the production stops for this tour.  Images of the ocean, Paris, Italy, the cover of his most recent album, Wheelhouse, and numerous others appeared in the sky due to lasers, smoke, and lighting effects that I have never witnessed at any show before. 

Brad and his band created impressive renditions of his songs that are truly unique to the original studio tracks; mostly due to the guitar solo’s and jam outs that he and his band added to each song.  He placed several songs from Wheelhouse in between some of his classic hits and was sure to add some form of matching imagery on the huge screens behind the stage.  Whether it was a Captain America cartoon during “American Saturday Night” or a rotating tire on “Mud on the Tires”, the thought Brad put into the visuals really made the show that much more impressive. 

He included his opening acts as Lee Brice and Chris Young came out to a riveting version of “Outstanding in Our Field” which features Dierks Bentley, Roger Miller and Hunter Hayes on Wheelhouse.  The three stars were all smiles as they traded lines on the song which I fully expect to make it to the summit on country radio in the near future.   Chris Young returned to the stage during the final song, “Alcohol”.  As a fan, it is always a bonus to see the stars on stage together at different points of the night. 

Brad’s guitar skills were flaunted with no reservations the entire night.  He jumped into the crowd during guitar solo’s, switched guitars for each song, and used every single inch of the stage in the front, the back by the sound stage, and the catwalk.  He was constantly moving, but it was with a smooth grace that was not forced, but exhaulted the swagger of a truly experienced performer. 

An App was created for the Tour which is called Brad Paisley’s Light Show. The crowd was encouraged to hold up on their smartphones at certain points of the night.  The result was amazing colors shining from every inch of the entire aplitheater.  To further up the ante of the night, a holographic image of Carrie Underwood emerged during “Remind Me”, a rapping Charlie Daniels appeared on screen during “Karate” and Andy Griffin spoke to Brad via screen on “Waitin’ on a Woman”. 

Past legends such as Elvis, Johnny Cash and George Jones were paid homage to as well. Brad Paisley did not leave anything out for this action packed performance that left the crowd trying to guess what he would do next. Even a goat made an absolutely hilarious appearance during “Celebrity”. 

All in all it will be very hard for any show to beat Brad Paisley’s performance this summer.  He seemed to think of everything and more. I was blown away by not only Paisley, but the entire night as well.  From the music, to the stage, and the production, all the little intricacies were perfectly envisioned and masterfully executed. 

SETLISTS:

Brad Paisley

  1. Southern Comfort Zone
  2. Mud on the Tires
  3. Mona Lisa
  4. American Saturday Night Tour
  5. Outstanding in Our Field (with Lee Brice and Chris Young)
  6. This is Country Music
  7. Celebrity
  8. Then
  9. She’s Everything
  10. Instrumental
  11. Old Alabama (featuring Alabama on screen)
  12. Waitin’ on a Woman (featuring Andy Griffin on screen)
  13. Online
  14. I’m Still a Guy
  15. Beat This Summer
  16. I’m Gonna Miss Her
  17. Karate (featuring Charlie Daniels on screen)
  18. Devil Went Down to Georgia (Charlie Daniels Band cover)
  19. Remind Me (with Carrie Underwood Hologram)
  20. The World
  21. Water
  22. Ticks (Encore)
  23. Alcohol (Encore with Chris Young)

Chris Young

  1. That Makes Me
  2. Gettin’ You Home
  3. Voices
  4. When She’s On
  5. Aw Naw
  6. The Man I Want to Be
  7. You
  8. Sharp Dressed Man (ZZ Top Cover)
  9. Neon
  10. She’s Got This Thing About Her
  11. I Can Take It From Here
  12. Tomorrow
  13. Save Water, Drink Beer

Lee Brice

  1. Parking Lot Party
  2. Beer
  3. A Woman Like You
  4. I Drive Your Truck
  5. Hard to Love
  6. Love Like Crazy
  7. Drinking Class

Videos:

Lee Brice – I Drive Your Truck
 


Brad Paisley, Lee Brice and Chris Young – Outstanding In Our Field
 


    Alabama Goes Back to the Bowery in CT

    Alabama
    Back to the Bowery Tour
    Oakdale Theater
    Wallingford, CT
    April 26, 2013

    When I began my love affair with country music over ten years ago, my friends told me to start with three artists: Toby Keith, Kenny Chesney and Alabama.  As I listened to all three and instantly loved each of their different styles, there was one thing that made me feel a bit empty: Alabama had broken up and I would never be able to see them perform live.  Well, that changed thanks to the band’s new reunion tour, “Back to the Bowery”, celebrating 40 years together.

    I was very happy when Alabama announced they would be playing the Oakdale Theater in Wallingford, Connecticut, the site of one of the best concert experiences of my life (see: http://millertimemusicspot.blogspot.com/2011/07/night-i-was-part-of-dierks-bentley.html).  The Oakdale Theater is presented by Toyota and is a 5,000 seat performing arts center which each seat in the house has a perfect view of the stage.  And, on April 26, 2013, it was filled to capacity with people of all ages to listen to a true legendary act. 

    Before the band took to the stage, the large screens on both sides of the stage flashed images of the band members over the course of the past forty years as well as trivia questions about their life.  Alabama was founded in 1969 by Randy Owen (lead vocals), and his cousin Teddy Gentry.  They were joined by Jeff Cook and later Mark Herndon (who is not with the band for this Tour).  They were originally called “Wildcountry” and changed its name to 1972. 

    Alabama took to the stage and instantly ripped into “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (Gotta Have a Fiddler in the Band)” and the crowd went wild.  The band sounded like they hadn’t aged a bit as Randy Owen’s vocals were spot on.  The band members’ had some questionable clothing choices, which showed no regard for fashion or matching; however, I doubt one person in the crowd really cared.  As a green fiddle screamed, a bass guitar was pounded, and sing-a-longs ensured, it was exactly the type of show I had imagined all these years listening to their legendary songs. 

     The show’s early part of the setlist was full of high energy as classics such as “Dixieland Delight”, “Tennessee River”, and a fast-moving updated version of “Song of the South”, which had everyone stomping along.  They gradually incorporated some ballads and even brought a couple on stage who had “Feels So Right” as their wedding song many years ago.  Before “Born Country”, a fan brought up an FFA flag, in which Randy was happy to hold up with pride. 

    Randy Owen is still quite the a showman as he dominated the performance.  His vocals are still perfect and he added in jokes, jumps, waves, and comments throughout.  He spoke of the Band’s upcoming project which will feature many contemporary artists as well as a few new songs from Alabama.  Before singing “Love in the First Degree”, he stated the next time you hear this will be with Luke Bryan, hinting that it will be a radio single. 

    The band went off script as they dedicated a song to their friend and fellow legend, George Jones, who had passed away that morning.  They performed “She Thinks I Still Care” which was followed by a standing ovation.  And after ending their set with “Angels Among Us, “Roll On”, and “My Home’s in Alabama”, there was only song that could be worthy of an Encore.  The crowd clapped and chanted and the band responded with “Mountain Music”, the signature song of Alabama, which was also payed tribute to in 2011 by Brad Paisley in, “Old Alabama”, which featured the band.

     In the end, there were no big projection screens, no smoke or explosions.  Instead, it was three musicians who created one of the most legendary bands of all time, singing the hits that have made them so beloved.  Song after song was a sing-a-long and I felt myself smiling as I walked out of the Oakdale Theater.  I can finally say that I saw Alabama perform live. 

    SETLIST:

    1. If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (Gotta Have a Fiddler in the Band)
    2. Tennessee River
    3. Dixieland Delight
    4. In the Sky (bye and bye)
    5. Song of the South
    6. Feels So Right
    7. Lady Down on Love
    8. Born in the World
    9. Reckless
    10. Born Country
    11. Love in the First Degree
    12. She Thinks I Still Care (George Jones cover)
    13. When We Make Love
    14. There’s No Way
    15. Dancin’, Shaggin’ on the Boulevard
    16. Closer You Get
    17. In a Hurry
    18. Angels Among Us
    19. Roll On
    20. My Home’s in Alabama
    21. Mountain Music (Enore)

    Kenny Chesney – Life on a Rock – Track by Track Dissection

     

    Track Listing for “Life on a Rock”

    1. Pirate Flag
    2. When I See This Bar
    3. Spread the Love featuring the Wailers and Elan
    4. Lindy
    5. Coconut Tree with Willie Nelson
    6. It’s That Time of Day
    7. Life on a Rock
    8. Marley
    9. Must Be Something I Missed
    10. Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi)

    Pirate Flag:

    On an album which Kenny has described as his most self-reflective to date, “Pirate Flag” is easily the least personal song on the album.  That being said, it fits with both today’s country radio and his past summery anthems.  The song is dominated by a chorus which boasts that he is leaving his fast past life and disappearing to the islands.  Not much to the lyrics, but catchy nonetheless.  It is currently sitting at #5 on the Mediabase Country Charts, thus, proving to be yet another successful radio single.  I suspect this song will be a sing-a-long favorite on the upcoming No Shoes Nation Tour in the Summer of 2013. 


    When I See This Bar:

    I was able to attend the Album Release Party for “Life on a Rock” (see: http://millertimemusicspot.blogspot.com/2013/05/iheart-radio-hosts-kenny-chesneys-album.html) and Kenny stated that this was his favorite song on the new album.  He said the song is very reflective of his own life because it reminds him of the people he shared some of the best times of his life.  Everyone has a place that reminds them of a special time in their life and this is his way to bring about that nostalgic feeling.  The instruments, as all the songs on this album, give it that island flavor that Kenny is so well known for.  I could easily see this being released as a radio single in the future. 

    Spread the Love:

    The Wailers are featured on this song and actually were the ones who wrote the music for it.  They then sent it to Kenny and asked him to write his own lyrics for it.  I, personally, think the song is fantastic.  The fact that Kenny steps out of his comfort zone and takes a reggae approach, similar to his past hit, “Everybody Wants to go to Heaven”, makes it very authentic to him as a huge fan of Bob Marley, The Wailers, and the islands.  When listening to this island groove, it immediately transports me to Jamaica.  However, this song may not appeal to those traditional country music fans who do like to the genre bending that some artists try.  I personally think music should not be genre restricted and commend Kenny and Wailers for this fantastic collaboration. 


    Lindy:

    This is a strikingly beautiful song about a real man that used to leave on the island of St. John’s.  Kenny stated that he wrote the lyrics to this song after he had witnessed Lindy, a homeless man, playing the paino by himself at a Church on the island.  Kenny wrote it without a guitar or any music to it.  He has stated that he wrote a lot of the songs on the album without expecting anyone else to ever hear them, that they were part of a “journal that rhymed”.  This journal entry describes a happy, free soul who wandered around the island of St. John. 


    Coconut Tree:

    Willie Nelson adds his one of a kind voice to a fun song with a few clever play on words.  The song has a simple message, if they had their way they would disappear from all the stress of the real world and hang out on an island (i.e. a coconut tree).  The trading back and forth of the lines of the song by Kenny and Willie create a fun harmonization.  The is the latest in the growing list of collaborations between the two, who have obviously formed a respected relationship. 


    It’s That Time of Day:

    This is song that is obviously inspired by one of Kenny’s favorite places on earth, Jost Van Dyke as the line “adios to Jost” is reiterated numerous times in the song.  It is a relaxed tune that really depicts a beautiful island scene in the listener’s head.  He sings of a beautiful sunset that occurs at the end of a glorious day spent with his friends at sea.  It’s a song that is very reminiscent of the songs on a former Chesney album, “Lucky Old Sun”.  And why not sing about Jost Van Dyke?  I visited there back in October and it truly is one of the most spectacular places on earth.  This song makes me immediately want to return. 


    Life on a Rock:

    This song is the island version of “I’m a Small Town” from his last album.  Its main message is how close everyone that actually lives on an island are.  They know everyone’s business, date each other and party together.  It is the song which incorporates the electric guitar rifts that have been so common on many of his former songs.  It is set up as a typic country radio song and is less intimate the other selections. 


    Marley:

    Another beautiful song which Kenny sings about how he escapes from the road, radio, and big stadiums.  He relaxes on his boat, reads Hemmingway’s “Old Man on the Sea”, drinks his rum, and listens to Bob Marley.  He sings the song not merely just trying to escape his life, but as being very appreciative of what his music career has given him and that he is also able to relax fully in his own way.  The acoustic guitar flows and the steel drums strike with perfection while Kenny sings the song with purpose and honesty.  A real stand-out on the album. 


    Must Be Something I Missed:

    This is a song he wrote with Mac McAnnally at a time where Kenny was in a frustrated state of mind.  He said Mac created the sheet music and they put together the song over the phone.  It’s got a fast paced, bluesy feel to it as he sings about hoping that he did not miss something in life as he lives his hectic life.  The lyrics serve as the inner thoughts of a stressed out man.  A unique take on a familiar topic. 


    Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi):

    This song is an emotional dedication for a friend of his who has passed away.  Instead of taking a sad approach on the death of a loved one, he takes the opposite approach.  He sings of celebrating her life, finding strength in her, and making sure she never dies by keeping her memory alive.  The line “still I’m a strong believer that I will see you again” gives hope to anyone who has lost someone very dear and close to them in their life.  In his friend’s Kristi’s passing, he makes sure that he will remember her “living life in the moment, happy on the hey now”.  It is a beautiful dedication and how we should be so lucky to remember our loved ones when they pass.  And the song is perfectly placed to end an album full of so many personal songs. 

    iHeart Radio Hosts Kenny Chesney’s Album Release Party for Life on A Rock

     

    Kenny Chesney is an artist who is used to singing country anthems in front of 60,000 plus fans on a nightly basis.  However, on the day before his new album, “Life on a Rock”, was set to be released, it was no coincidence that Kenny sat with 50 lucky fans to discuss what he described as his most personal album to date. 

     

    iHeartRadio hosted this exclusive Album Release Party at the iHeartRadio Theater presented by P.C. Richard & Son and Bobby Bones, host of The Bobby Bones Show, syndicated on Country radio stations nationwide, joined Kenny on stage for the festivities.  Fans were treated to an hour of stories behind where the songs from “Life on a Rock” came from.

     

    Kenny told the crowd that he had written the songs on the album for himself, never thinking they would ever be heard, let alone be put on an album.  He said the album, at first, was a personal “journal that rhymed”.  Songs such as “Lindy”, “Marley”, “When I See This Bar”, and “Must Be Something I Missed” where actually written without a guitar in his hands or any music to the lyrics.  He further eluded that he thinks that his music has changed over the course of the past few years because he has changed as a person.  He stated “if my music did not change it would not be authentic”. 

     

    Kenny was not serious and deep the entire party as he shared jokes and stories behind “Coconut Tree” with Willie Nelson and “Spread the Love” which features the Wailers.  With a big smile and a deep laugh, he said that working with the Wailers was a lot like working with Willie.  He told us he had spent two days with Willie at his house in Maui, Hawaii, sitting at a poker table trading the guitar back and forth.  He also said that the Wailers had sent him the song “Spread the Love”, but wanted him to create his own lyrics to the song and that was how it was born.

     
    During the course of the hour, it was a unique experience to be so up close and personal with one of the top entertainers in the entire world and see him describe what he was thinking at the time he created such personal songs.  I could see the true authenticity in the songs on “Life on a Rock” as he intently described what he meant by his lyrics.  Bobby Jones did a great job by asking some humorous questions and adding in his own humor.  The iHearRadio Theater was the perfect intimate, yet state of the art setting to make the hour long party a once in a lifetime experience. 
    Track Listing for “Life on a Rock”
    1. Pirate Flag
    2. When I See This Bar
    3. Spread the Love featuring the Wailers and Elan
    4. Lindy
    5. Coconut Tree with Willie Nelson
    6. It’s That Time of Day
    7. Life on a Rock
    8. Marley
    9. Must Be Something I Missed
    10. Happy on the Hey Now (A Song for Kristi)