P.C. Richard & Son Theater, New York City
August 8, 2011
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I arrived at the pristine P.C. Richard & Son Theater, located at 32 Avenue of the Americas in New York City’s Tribeca Neighborhood, about two hours before Showtime. To my surprise, there was already a huge single file line in front of the building and wrapped around the block. The fans, predominantly females of all ages, came equipped with a mixture of signs, boots, and cowboy hats. Everyone was happy to withstand the humidity as they were eager for their chance to get an up close and personal look at country music’s newest star, Luke Bryan.
At approximately 7:00 p.m., Jonathan Clarke of NYC’s Classic Rock Station, Q 104.3, took the stage. He announced that everyone in the crowd should feel very lucky because the show was going to be a “live television event”. In that, he meant it was going to be streaming live on iheartradio’s website as well as multiple country music radio station websites across the country. There was even a twitter trend created for the show (#iheartradiolive) that he encouraged fans in the crowd to tweet during the show.
Luke Bryan came out to the stage to a fury of screams from the crowd. He stated “What’s up New York City and iHeartradio? We have a good looking crowd here. This is going to be a lot of fun. If you were calling someone your baby and you’re not anymore, this song is for you.” He opened his show with a former #1 hit, “Someone Else Calling You Baby”. In typical Luke Bryan fashion, he was smiling, dancing, and interacting with the crowd throughout the song.
Luke next took the time to briefly tell the crowd that his new album “Tailgates & Tanlines” was being released at midnight that night and said he was going to do a few songs off the new album. He proclaimed “this is last show that I will do without a new album out. The next song you have to get your ‘boom boom’ on.” Of course, that got a rise out of the crowd and he proceeded to sing a new fan favorite “Drunk On You”. The song is very catchy and is very chorus driven:
“girl you make my speakers go boom boom,
Dancing on the tailgate in the full moon
That kind of thing makes a man go mmm mmm,
You’re looking so good in what’s left of those blue jeans,
Drip of honey on the money make it got to be
The best buzz I’m ever going to find.
Hey I’m a little drunk on you
Luke laughed after the song because the crowd seemingly knew every word to the song although it was yet to be released. In fact, many of the fans had signs decorated with the phrases “boom boom” and “drunk on you”. He said “a lot of you must be watching some youtube or something”.
He then proceeded to introduce another song off of the new album entitled “I Don’t Want This Night To End”. In fact, he stated that he expects this to become the next single released after “Country Girl hopefully goes number one”. In my opinion, if he decides to release this song as a single, he will certainly have yet another number one single on his hands.
The song is very new age country with a phenomenal instrumental sound combined with a fun storyline. Musically, it is very similar to Kenny Chesney’s song “Somewhere With You” in that it is a very soulful sounding song which he switches his notes from mid-tempo to rapid-fire very smoothly. The song is a story about a girl who he apparently just has met and how they are staying up all night driving and dancing in his pickup truck.
I must mention that throughout the performance, the P.C. Richard & Son Theater really helped showcase Luke’s performance. It is a small stage, but had the perfect amount of room for Luke to do his patented “Elvis-type” dance moves that he has become famous for. Further, the intimate style of the venue had every fan from the front row to the back feel like they were getting a private performance. The acoustics in the theater were flawless and I overheard many fans ranting and raving about how much they enjoyed their experience there.
Luke, always the charmer, decreed to the crowd that he wanted to go “honkey-tonking on Broadway tonight. This song will start it. iHeartradio will have some frisky country girls.” He obviously was alluding to his smash hit “Rain Is A Good Thing”. The entire crowd was singing along as Luke sang and danced. The energy of both the band and the crowd were at its peak and Luke immediately took his cue to up the ante once more.
The speakers began to play a hip-hop auto tune (robot voice) of “Country Girl Shake It For Me” and everyone knew what was next. Luke and the band let the auto tune say its phrase a few times and then ripped right into their original country version. Everyone in the New York City crowd was either clapping along with both hands above their head or fist-pumping ala the Jersey Shore cast. Luke put his guitar down, grabbed the microphone, went to the front of the stage and partied along with the crowd to his new mega-hit.
He closed the night out with what he called “a good old fashion cover song”. To the crowd’s pleasant surprise he belted out a great rendition of Brooks & Dunn’s former platinum hit “Play Something Country”. Again he had everyone singing and wailing their arms. As the consonant performer that Luke Bryan is, he had everyone that night smiling and dancing along right back with him. The only question was: did the crowd have more fun or did Luke himself?
Moreover, as an added bonus, Luke announced he would wait outside the door to give an autograph to every single person in the building. Not only does his talent shine through his music and his energy flow through his performances, but he treats his fans with a respect that is unlike any other artist in any genre of music.
I would like to thank countrymusicislove.com to for giving me the opportunity to attend such a private event, as well as iHeart Radio, Vanessa Wojtusiak, and Clear Channel Radio for their astounding hospitality.
The above pictures are courtesy of iHeartRadio / Mark Gong.
1) Someone Else Calling You Baby
2) Drunk On you
3) I Don’t Want This Night To End
4) Rain Is A Good Thing
5) Country Girl (Shake It For Me)
6) Play Something Country (Brooks & Dunn Cover)