Lady A, Darius Rucker, & TS Kick Off CT’s Summer Country Concert Series

LADY ANTEBELLUM
WE OWN THE NIGHT TOUR
w/ DARIUS RUCKER & THOMPSON SQUARE
Comcast Theater
Hartford, Connecticut
May 18, 2012

It was absolutely perfect weather on Friday for the first country music concert of the year at the outdoor Comcast Theater when Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Thompson Square brought the We Own The Night Tour to Connecticut.  The New England music fans came out early and in full effect to enjoy the weather and the amazing entertainment that would follow the parking lot party.  I was lucky enough to have access to the meet and greets with both Thompson Square and Darius Rucker.  Thompson Square, consisting of Shawna and Keifer Thompson, were extremely nice and told me they were working on their next album.  They hope it will be out sometime next Spring or Summer.  After a quick discussion and a few jokes, Keifer told me he was not named after Kiefer Sutherland (I had to ask, I am a giant 24 fan). 

Darius Rucker and I discussed his golf game since I know how much he loves the sport.  He put my handicap to shame when he told me his was a 5.  He also said that his new single is set to hit country radio on May 22nd and his new album will shortly follow.  He was personable when talking with me which is always refreshing for an artist who has had so much success for the greater part of twenty five years. 

I got to my seat in time for Thompson Square’s set which was spirited despite only singing a few songs and not having the production effects their touring mates would.  Keifer plays the guitar and sticks to his microphone stand as he lets his wife Shawna use the stage.  They have an excellent chemistry that is neither forced and nor phony.  Giant lips popped up on stage for their smash hit and final number, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not”.

Darius Rucker, formerly the lead singer of Hootie & The Blowfish, followed up TS with an incredible set that rivaled most headline acts I’ve seen.  He had the crowd in the palm of his hand from start to finish.  Dressed in a simple t-shirt, jeans, and nike baseball cap, Darius belted out a setlist that displayed the uniqueness that makes up this mega-star: his musical diversity. 

He sang all of his number #1 country tunes, including “Alright”, “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” and “Come Back Song”, as well as, to the crowd’s delight, two Hootie songs “Only Wanna Be With You” and “Hold My Hand”.  He even sang a few covers such as Steve Miller Band’s “The Joker”, Hank Williams, Jr.’s “Family Tradition” and Prince’s “Purple Rain”.  It does not get more diverse than that and he absolutely nailed each song. 

Darius sang thirteen songs in all and his time on stage nearly equaled that of Lady A’s.  In fact, as much as I was impressed by Lady A’s performance, I think Darius’ overall set was better.  He has a stage presence that has clearly been refined over the course of his stellar career.  There is nothing he does that is staged and Darius’ free spirit is on display throughout.  Whether it is classic rock, country, or even R&B, I only hope he continues to make music and perform for a long time because all of what Darius Rucker does is flat out great. 

After a short delay, Lady Antebellum took to the stage.  I had seen Lady A perform a few years ago as an opening act for Tim McGraw and was really interested to see if they had grown as a live act since then.  My answer was very clear right from the start.  The trio dominated every foot of the guitar shaped stage and had the crowd dancing from start to finish.  They not only improved a great deal from the first time I had seen them, they absolutely passed my expectations. 

While Lady A kept to most of the chart-topping singles, they did throw in a few of their deeper cuts from their albums.  They even performed a few cover songs and brought out each of their tour mates, Thompson Square for the Allman Brothers classic, “Midnight Rider”, and Darius Rucker (with TS sticking around) for the Doobie Brothers’ “Black Water”.  I did not particularly love their take on the Rolling Stones’ “Honky Tonk Woman”, but that was one of the few misses from their set. 

The one thing that I enjoyed most was the band’s use of Dave Haywood.  The last time I saw the band live, Haywood seemed a bit lost on stage.  This time they showcased his musical abilities and gave him a plethora of different guitars and solos.  Instead of looking like the third wheel, he truly was at the forefront along with Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott.  Moreover, on the deep love songs which the lyrics really speak to a man and woman, Dave let Charles and Hillary take the spotlight and did not step forward as he had done in the past.  I thought it was a lot more effective and made their performance much more polished. 

All in all, I left the amphitheater with a full understanding of why this Tour has been so successful.  Each of the three acts were wholesome, unique, and professional.  I really gained newfound respect for Lady Antebellum and Thompson Square, and continued my admiration for Darius Rucker’s craft.  No matter what age you are, this Tour, more than most, has something to appeal to the music fan in you. 

Setlist:

Thompson Square:

  1. I Got You
  2. Let’s Fight
  3. Getaway Car
  4. One Of Those Days
  5. Are You Gonna Kiss Me Or Not

Darius Rucker:

  1. Love Will Do That
  2. Alright
  3. The Craziest Thing
  4. It Won’t Be Like This For Long
  5. Only Wanna Be With You (Hootie & The Blowfish Cover)
  6. The Joker (Steve Miller Band Cover)
  7. Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It
  8. Come Back Song
  9. History In The Making
  10. Hold My Hand (Hootie & The Blowfish Cover)
  11. Family Tradition (Hank Williams, Jr. Cover)
  12. This
  13. Purple Rain (Prince Cover)

Lady A:

  1. We Owned The Night
  2. Stars Tonight
  3. Our Kind of Love
  4. Dancing Away With My Heart
  5. Wanted You More
  6. Perfect Day
  7. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore
  8. Just A Kiss
  9. Hello World
  10. American Honey
  11. Midnight Rider featuring Thompson Square (Allman Brothers Cover)
  12. Black Water featuring Darius Rucker & Thompson Square (Doobie Brothers Cover)
  13. I Run To You
  14. Honky Tonk Woman (Rolling Stones Cover)
  15. Looking For a Good Time
  16. Need You Now (Encore)

VIDEO CLIPS:
Darius Rucker – Only Wanna Be With You

Darius Rucker – Hold My Hand
Darius Rucker – Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It
Lady A – American Honey
Lady A – Love Don’t Live Here Anymore