Jason Aldean, Luke Bryan and Dee Jay Silver Dominate Hartford (plus an interview with Dee Jay Silver)

Jason Aldean
My Kinda Party Tour
w/ Luke Bryan and Dee Jay Silver
Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT
July 13, 2012

On a hot and steamy Friday night, Connecticut Country Music fans came out in droves to party with a few of the hottest names in music.  Jason Aldean brought his highly successful My Kinda Party to the Comcast Theater in Hartford, CT and what ensued was what Dee Jay Silver described as a “hillbilly rave”. 

Up first was my meet and greet with Luke Bryan.  I have met Luke a bunch of times over the past few years and despite all of the success he has attained, he is still humble and personable as ever.  We spoke about his next single, which he told me is “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye”, the National Anthem controversy, and how next year he is going to being headlining his own major tour.  We also discussed how long of a day it had already been for him since he had performed in Central Park in New York City that very morning for Good Morning America. 

I arrived to my seat just in time for Dee Jay Silver’s first set.  Silver is a country music DJ who combines all genres of music to country music for amazing mixes and mashups.  This was the first of his two sets and he had the packed amplitheater up and dancing throughout.  With amazing mixes using songs such as  “Dust On The Bottle”, “Smoke a Little Smoke”, “Party Rock Anthem”, and “Shake That Ass” he has truly created a unique style of music.  I was fortunate enough to interview him on his tour bus after the show and you can see that interview within the bottom of this blog post. 

Silver had the crowd amped up and ready for Luke Bryan’s set.  Luke came out storming with his smash hit “Rain Is a Good Thing” and never looked back.  Luke is certain to be a future Entertainer of the Year.  He uses every inch of the stage while he dances, jumpes, and shakes around with the swagger of a veteran performer.  His dance moves have the women screaming and his music is masculine enough to have every male in the venue singing along as well. 

Luke performed all of his hits within his set, including “Drunk On You”, “I Don’t Want This Night To End”, “Someone Else Calling You Baby” and “Do I”.  He even threw in two covers (Lionel Richie’s “Easy Like Sunday Morning” and Journey’s “Faithfully”) that the crowd knew word for word.  However, the Comcast Theater went insane when they heard the auto tuned intro to “Country Girl (Shake It For Me)”.  The stage was then rushed by a contingent of women who were ready to show Luke just how well Connecticut girls could shake it.  He put everything into his last song and his energy was unparalled.  Luke just keeps getting better and better with each performance. 

 Dee Jay Silver had the hardest job of the night by filling up the time slot following Luke Bryan’s amazing performance and before Jason Aldean took the stage.  But, as the true professional and visionary that he is, he handled it perfectly.  He gave the crowd exactly what they wanted: party music.  At a time where most would head to the bathrooms, he had the sold out crowd dancing and fist pumping Jersey Shore style throughout his time. 

With the two Dee Jay Silver sets and Luke Bryan’s bombastic performance, the crowd was on a music high by the time Jason Aldean took the stage.  The stage became a spectacular array of stars, lights, hanging HD screens, ramps, and smoke as Aldean pumped out “Johnny Cash”.  While he is not as much of an energetic performer as Luke Bryan is, he has his own style that works.  You hardly ever see him without his black acoustic guitar and he keeps a straight face as he gets down to business.  But his live vocals are what shines the brightest in his performances.  As he belts out the words in “Fly Over States”, “The Truth”, or “Don’t You Wanna Stay”, you can see that he why he garnered so much success over the past few years.  He is truly one of the best live vocalists in music today. 

Of course, he performed crowd favorite country-rock songs such as “My Kinda Party” and “She’s Country” and the country-hip-hop mega-hit “Dirt Road Anthem”.  But he also gave the Connecticut crowd a few sneak peaks at a few tunes off of his next album, which he said he expects to be released in October.  “Take a Litte Ride” is another high energy, country-rock banger that is undoubtedly headed for country radio supremacy.  It has the sound you expect from Jason that borders on commercial appeal while keeping true to his style of music.  During his two song encore, he also sang “Wheels Rolling” which is another vintage Jason Aldean type song.  I am starting to see a theme in his lyrics as many of the songs are about him traveling somewhere. 

In the end,  it is easy to see why this is one of the must see tours of the Summer.  Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan put on completely different styles of performances that both show the range that country music is at in today’s music world.  The addition of Dee Jay Silver’s two DJ sets made that Friday night in Hartford everyone’s Kinda Party. 


Luke Bryan

  1. Rain Is a Good Thing
  2. Someone Else Calling You Baby
  3. Drunk On You
  4. Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye
  5. Drinking Beer and Wasting Bullets
  6. Easy Like Sunday Morning (Lionel Richie Cover)
  7. Do I
  8. Faithfully (Journey Cover)
  9. All My Friends
  10. Enter the Sandman (Metallica Cover)
  11. I Don’t Want This Night to End
  12. Country Girl (Shake It For Me)
Jason Aldean
  1. Johnny Cash
  2. Big Green Tractor
  3. Amarillo Sky
  4. The Truth
  5. Take a Ride in the City
  6. Fly Over States
  7. Tattoos On This Town
  8. Don’t You Wanna Stay
  9. Dirt Road Anthem
  10. My Kinda Party
  11. She’s Country
  12. Wheels Rolling
  13. Hicktown


Dee Jay Silver Interview – July13, 2012

Question:  It seems like everyone was a DJ or wanted to be a DJ at some point in their life, how did you take it to the next level and get to this point?

 Answer: I’ve been doing this for awhile now.  I toured with the rapper, Nelly, doing his afterparties  and was on the Jackass World Tour with the MTV guys.  Then I did a Remix of “She’s Country” with Country Grammar and my agent, Kevin Neal, who is also Jason Aldean’s agent, heard it at the Country Music Awards three years ago.  Kevin then walked up to me at the Tabu Nightclub in Las Vegas and simply asked me “do you want to go on Tour with Jason Aldean?” 

Question:  Wow, so it was one song and the right person listening that gave you your shot?

Answer: God put it in the right hands.  Now we are going on two years.  In fact, Brooks & Dunn on their last Tour, used my remix of “She’s Country” as one the songs right before they walked on stage.  I was blown away by that honor. 

Question:  I know you have a lot of free material on the Iphone App, Soundcloud.  How long have you been doing that?

Answer: Over the past few years I have been putting up lots of mixes for free on the App.  But my record deal came through and you will be seeing my music on Itunes. 

 Question:  What kind of record deal?

 Answer:  I am proud to say I am the first ever DJ to be offered a country record deal.

Question:  So what should be expecting from you next?

 Answer: Working with some of the biggest names in country music, past and present. 

Question:  Have you become close with Jason and Luke?

Answer: Absolutely, they are two of my great friends now.  I was just speaking to Luke before I spoke to you and we were talking about how far he has come.  He just got to play Good Morning America in Central Park and I told him that was a bucket list type of thing.  We both cannot believe we get paid to do what we are doing and love. 

Question:  I am a big fan of all genres of music.  I think it is phenomenal that you can combine each of the genres into the country world on your mixes.  I hear everything from country to Jay-Z to LMFAO on your mixes.  Where did you come up with the idea that hip-hop and country could actually mix?

Answer:  I think it is such a cross roads right now and music is a kick drum from being rock and roll.  Look at Jason’s music, there is not much difference between the high energy music he performs and rock and roll.   On this Tour, we are basically throwing the largest country club party every night. 

Question:  If you are in a honky-tonk or a country bar and you hear a country song mixed with a hip-hop, rock and roll, or pop song, what are the chances it is a Dee Jay Silver mix.

Answer:  If you heard a country mix,  chances are I might have had something to do with it.  I change the keys, switch the pitch, and reverse the chorus.  My mixes of “Dust on the Bottle”, “Rodeo”, “Crazy Town”, among others, are getting a lot of play. 

Question: I know I heard you did a mix of Lee Brice’s “Parking Lot Party”.  What else are you working on?

Answer: I just met with Lee’s people last week and we are going to be working on some stuff together.  Actually, ESPN College Game Day heard that “Parking Lot Party” mix and we filmed a whole section for this Fall’s ESPN College Game Day with the mix. 

Question:  When did you put out your first country mix?

Answer: Over five years ago.  It was the first country mix ever made. It’s funny, now, I have clubs all over the nation asking me to come and play an hour of country music mixes.  I couldn’t believe it because it was at a time where people either hated country music or loved it.  Times have changed and it is one of the most popular types of music out there now.  My first country club mix went through about 10,000 copies. 

Question:  Are there any other artists out there you admire or want to work with?

Answer:  The Zac Brown Band right now is killing it.  Musically, there are not many that can compete with them and they are blowing up.  I would love to do something with them.  And Eric Church is my boy.   There are not many solo acts right now that get more energy when I play a mix of his, Luke’s, and Jason.  You saw it tonight – it was the biggest country club in the world tonight. What an honor it is to be on the road with Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan.
Special thanks to Dee Jay Silver for allowing me to do the interview with him.  Good luck in your already impressive career. 

Jake Owen’s Big E Blue Jean Night

The Big E – Comcast Arena
West Springfield, MA
September 25, 2011

I had the pleasure of attending the Jake Owen concert at the Big E in West Springfield, Massachusetts on September 25, 2011.  The Big E is one of the East Coast’s biggest Fairs, boasting rides, music, food, drinks, shopping and more.  It has also recently created the Comcast Arena Stage which seats approximately 6,000 people and has hosted some of the biggest names in the music business today. 

My wife and I arrived and were lucky enough to have meet and greet passes with Jake.  We waited outside of his bus until he came out to greet the pass-holders.  Jake’s biggest song is “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” which is not only his first #1 single, but it is the current #1 song on both the Country Billboard and Mediabase Charts.  When he came out of the bus, he was wearing blue jeans and was barefoot.  In fact, during his entire performance, he was also barefoot.  I thought this was pretty cool that the artist actually lives the words of his biggest song in real life.

Jake was very humble and very personable.  We spoke for a few minutes and even joked about New Jersey (since that is where my wife and I are originally from).  He asked what Exit we were from and my wife said “far from the Jersey Shore, do not worry”.  He was by far one of the most sincere and down to earth music stars that I have ever met. 

Eric Paslay was the opening act and he sang about five songs.  He stood on stage by himself with an acoustic guitar and sang songs off of his upcoming album.  He is a skilled song writer, who actually wrote “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” for Jake and has some real potential to continue his songwriting career in Nashville.  Jake came on stage full of smiles and broke right into “Anywhere With You” from his new album. 

I had never seen Jake live before so I did not know what to expect.  I must say I was blown away from start to finish.  He had such a real and natural interaction with the fans in the crowd.  He was constantly commenting on people in the crowd, brought up a little kid on stage, took hats from the crowd and put them on his head, took beads from a fan and wore them, and, at one point, actually jumped off the stage and came into the crowd.  Halfway through his set, during the acoustic portion, he sang a full “freestyle” song simply commenting on things he saw around the arena.  It was humorous and extremely interactive.  I really was impressed.

He was at his best on his biggest hits like “Starting With Me”, “Something About A Woman”, “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” and of course, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night” in which he brought out Eric Paslay to help he sing the song.  All of his vocals were spot on and very strong.  His energy was high level during the entire show as he used every foot of the stage from left to right. 

Two songs were sung with deep emotion and passion by Jake.  The first was “The One That Got Away”.  He really put a lot into this song and really rocked out.  He even threw a snippet of Rick Springfield’s “Jesse’s Girl” into the last verse of the song.  The other was his acoustic version of “The Journey Of Your Life”, an emotional song about his last few moments with his grandfather and the life lessons he learned from him.  It brought tears to the eyes of the almost sold out crowd.

He ended the night with an encore consisting of “8 Second Ride” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “That Smell”.  During the song “8 Second Ride” he brought up a young boy who appeared to be about five years old named Carson.  Carson stole the show as he showcased dance skills that had everyone clapping and admiring how cute he was.  Jake was having a ball with Carson, slapping him high five, getting on his knees next to him and even letting Carson hold his guitar. 

Jake really showcased his love for the fans and his love for his music.  He is a very talented, extremely energetic and refreshingly humble guy.  I really recommend all my readers to check him out in concert and pick up his new CD, “Barefoot Blue Jean Night”. 


1) Anywhere With You
2) Yee Haw
3) Wide Awake
4) Keepin It Country
5) Tell me why
6) Starting With Me
7) Something About A Woman
8) The One That Got Away (Remix with a snipet of “Jesse’s Girl” by Rick Springfield)
9) Bad In Me (Remix with a snipet of “Just A Friend” by Biz Markie and a snipet of “Love Is What I Got” by Sublime)
10) Acoustic Freestyle Song
11) Journey Of Your Life
12) Heaven
13) Barefoot Blue Jean Night (with special guest Eric Paslay)
14) Apple Pie Moonshine
15) Alone With You
16) Don’t Think I Can’t Love You

17) 8 Second Ride
18 ) That Smell (Lynyrd Skynyrd Cover)




8 SECOND RIDE – JAKE OWEN w Carson as his dancing guest:

Toby Keith Ends the 2011 CT Country Summer Concert Season with a Bang

Toby Keith
Locked & Loaded Tour
Featuring Eric Church and JT Hodges
Comcast Theater, Hartford, CT
September 16, 2011

Summer was clearly over on this cold mid-September night when the “Locked & Loaded Tour” rolled into Hartford, Connecticut.  This night would be the final night of the summer’s country music concerts series at the Comcast Theater (formerly known as the Meadows) and was arguably the best.  Despite the unusually cold temperature, the sold out crowd and jam packed lawn section was alive and rocking. 

I was fortunate, again, to score a meet and greet pass with Eric Church.  Eric has quickly shot up the list of my favorite singers and it has been a real pleasure to meet him twice in the past few weeks.  Despite all his energy and moxy on stage, he is a very humble and evel keel guy.  We spoke for a moment about the Tour and his upcoming single (which he hinted would be “Springsteen”).  I look for great things from Eric in the future.

I was able to take my seat, 5th row center stage, in time to catch JT Hodges.  JT had recently signed to Toby Keith’s record label and has served as the opening act along the Locked & Loaded Tour.  I did not know what to expect from him since I really only knew his single “Hunt You Down” but he showed a lot of potential.  He was at best when he was at the forefront of the stage with a microphone and interacting with the crowd rather than set back behind the microphone stand with his band.  Overall, he had a good sound and has some solid lyrics.  I look forward to his first cd release.  I was also able to meet him after his set and he was easily one of the nicest artists I have met to date. 

Eric Church came on stage with his patented avaitor sunglases and Von Dutch denim Trucker Hat.  He ripped into “Before She Does” and pumped his fist, pounded his chest, and shouted to the crowd for the next hour.  As I stated in my review two weeks ago, Eric has an unique performance style that combines swagger and bravado with a party style bad boy image. 

He changed his setlist up a bit and added a new fan favorite “Jack Daniels”, which a video clip is included down below.  The song is a humorous take on the morning after a night out drinking whiskey. 

Eric was energetic throughout, and really seemed to love when he was singing the new songs of his recent #1 album “Cheif”.  He actually stated to the crowd at one point, “thanks to you guys I had the #1 album in the world for two weeks. So Jay-Z and Kanye can kiss my rift!”  This comment is evident of who Eric Church is, an artist who does not care about taking on the music industry in the way he wants to. 

Eric was at his best on songs such as “Lotta Boot”, “Springsteen”, “Love Your Love the Most”, and “Gettin’ Stoned”, all of which sound nothing alike.  That is the beauty of Eric’s music, he never makes a similar song, but they are all country to the core – in his own gritty way.  Which is why Hank Williams Jr.’s “Country Boy Can Survive” fit so well into his set.  Eric is doing country music his own way and is surviving very well. 

He ended his set with the booming “Smoke A Little Smoke” and had the entire amplitheatre on his feet as the sprays of smoke dominated the stage behind Eric and his band.  I fully expect this man to be headlining his own tours very soon – it is just a matter of time.

For as much as Eric is on the rise and put forth a great performance, you could tell the majority of the crowd in Hartford that night came to see the headliner.  And just after 9:30 p.m., the lights went low and the big screen produced a short comedic sketch which pushed Ford Trucks, the sponsor for Toby’s tour.  Upon the end of the sketch, the first of a multitude of pyrotechnic M-80 blasts exploded and Toby walked to the front of the stage.  Dressed in his usual cowboy hat and a strange short sleeve aqua blue “Hawaiian” style button down shirt, Toby exploded into “Bullets in the Gun”. 

Toby was in playful mood that night as he was full of smiles, jokes, and lyric change-ups to make some of his songs more humorous.  On tracks such as “Just Talking About Tonight” and “I Love This Bar”, his lyrics were changed to lyrics of more jokingly suggestive sexual nature which the ladies in the crowd obviously enjoyed. 

Toby’s latest top 5 “Made in America” and a rarely sung single from the beginning of his career “Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You” were two of the highlights of this show.  Both songs were sung with deep passion, one for the Country he loves and one about a woman.  The notes Toby is able to hit on both songs are so far ranging that I would be surprised if any other singer in country music could hit them, besides maybe Ronnie Dunn.  It was really spectacular. 

However, the true highlight of the night for me was when Toby brought out fellow songwriter Scotty Emerick.  Toby and Scotty have been long time friends and have penned powerhouse singles together such as “Beer For My Horses” and “I Love This Bar”. 

On this night, Toby and Scotty went the way of the humorous “bus songs” they wrote together and had the crowd clapping along and laughing to two acoustic versions of “Weed With Willie” and “The Taliban Song”.  Both songs are hilarious takes on topics some might find “un-PC”, but for anyone who can take on a joke can really get a laugh out of.   I have always enjoyed Scotty Emerick’s writing and even some of his own recorded music, so it was a pleasant surprise to see him out there in the spotlight with the Big Dog.

Toby had to rush through the last couple songs of his set, probably since it was getting very late and there is an ordinance in Hartford.  There is usually a few minute period where the lights go dark and the convential encore happens.  Instead, he went right into “American Soldier” after singing “A Little Less Talk”.  I enjoy the darkness period where the crowd chants “USA” before this patriotic encore better, but Toby made it work nonetheless. 

Toby brought up a number of our Country’s military men and had them at the fore-front shaking hands with fans and standing alongside him in a proud and exhalted manner. As he sang “American Soldier” and the thunderous “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue” alongside these soldiers, Toby reminded Connecticut that you should “never apologize for being patriotic”. 

The entire “Locked & Loaded Tour” show that night was phenomenal and truly showed that Toby Keith is still at the forefront of country music’s finest artists and performers, that Eric Church is on his way up to the top, and JT Hodges has real potential.  Sadly, the Connecticut Country Concert Season was over, but it ended at its highest point of the Summer. 


Toby Keith – Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You

Toby Keith with Scotty Emerick – The Taliban Song
Eric Church – Jack Daniels

Toby Keith – Should’ve Been A Cowboy

Toby Keith w/ Scotty Emerick – Weed With Willie 

Eric Church
1) Before She Does
2) How Bout You

3) Hell On The Heart
4) Drink In My Hand
5) Guys Like Me
6) Springsteen
7) Getting Stoned
8) Jack Daniels

9) Love Your Love The Most

10) Lotta Boot
11) Creepin
12) Country Boy Can Survive (Hank Williams Jr. Cover)

13) Homeboy

14) Smoke A Little Smoke

Toby Keith
1) Bullets in the Gun
2) American Ride
3) Just Talkin’ About Tonight
4) Made In America
5) Whiskey Girl
6) Lady Marmalade (sung by Mica Roberts)
7) I Wanna Walk About Me
8) Get Drunk and Be Somebody
9) Does That Blue Moon Ever Shine On You
10) Who’s Your Daddy
11) As Good As I Once Was
12) I Love This Bar
13) Should’ve Been a Cowboy
14) Get Out of My Car
15) Weed With Willie (with Scotty Emerick)
16) The Taliban Song (with Scotty Emerick)
17) Beer For My Horses
18) How Do You Like Me Now
19) A Little Less Talk, A Lot More Action
20) American Soldier
21) Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue

Hurricane Irene Proves to be No Match for the Goin’ Coastal Tour

Kenny Chesney’s Goin’ Coastal Tour
Gillette Stadium – August 27, 2011
Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington, & Uncle Kracker
Final Night of the Tour

As most of the East Coast prepared for Hurricane Irene, 59,000 country music fans in Foxboro, Massachusetts, decided to hold off on dealing with the impending disaster.  Gillette Stadium, home of the New England Patriots, hosted the final night of Kenny Chesney’s Goin’ Coastal Tour.  While some of the show featured all out down-pours, the majority of the night, including all of Chesney’s set, was rain free.

After spending a few hours at the fun and impressive Toby Keith’s I Love This Bar & Grill, which is located right next door to Gillette Stadium, we walked into the field level as Billy Currington was singing.  Billy sang the same set as I had seen a few weeks earlier at The New Meadowlands Stadium.  Billy has a ways to go with the energy and showmanship in his live performances, but his voice and songs carry him enough that he is still enjoyable.  Although I do not see him headlining a tour anytime soon, he was a good warm-up for the two powerhouses which followed. 

Zac Brown Band hit on all cylinders Saturday night.  I have seen them live several times and this was, indeed, one of their finest.  While Billy Currington and Kenny Chesney sang almost identicle sets from the previous shows, Zac Brown and his Band switched things up totally.  Yes, the hits such as “Toes”, “Highway 20 Ride”, “Free”, “Colder Weather”, and “Chicken Fried were played, but they also incorporated other cuts that were not released as single, but the fans knew nonetheless.  As the rain stormed down on the crowd, Zac bolted out “Jolene” with such passion and pain, that no one seemed to care about the weather. 

  Zac sang a new tune called “Sweet Anne” that seems to be destined for country radio supremacy.  And of course, Jimmy DeMartini, who I consider to be the best non-vocal musician in all of country music, shined on his multiple fiddle solo’s.  The Zac Brown Band’s cover of Charlie Daniels’ “The Devil Went Down To Georgie” is even better than the original.  Jimmy’s fiddle skills are particularly on display when the band does that song live.  The speed that his arm and wrist move at is absolutely remarkable.

What is very different from most bands is that although Zac Brown is clearly the leader and face of the Band, he lets his bandmates get their “shine on” as well.  For example, on this night, Zac let Clay Cook take the vocals on “Can’t See You Tonight”.  Clay’s vocals could be lead for any other band in the land and as the rain came down at its hardest of the night while he sang this song (originally recorded by Zac with Kid Rock), the crowd could truly appreciate how talented this whole band really is. 

The Zac Brown Band closed out their set as they always do, with “America The Beautiful” mixed as an intro into the band’s first, and biggest hit, “Chicken Fried”.  After ZBB finished doing their thing I thought to myself: wow, they were so good I almost forgot they were not the headliner of the show and Kenny Chesney is yet to come.  In fact, at least two times during their set, Zac Brown made it known to the crowd the Band is motivated to become one of the biggest acts in country music as he boldy stated “we want to come back here and play for ya’ll as a headliner” and “we will be back”.  I absolutely believe him – this Band is the real deal Holyfield. 

To everyone’s delight the rain subsided before Chesney flew into the Stadium as there were only brief spells of drizzle during his set.  Chesney entered the Stadium as he has continously done over the past few years, on a flying apparatus extended high by cables above the floor section.  He sang the entire song “Live A Little” while flying as if he was in Cirque de Soleil. 

Kenny did basically the same set as he did at the New Meadowlands Stadium.  He did throw in the song “She’s From Boston” and the New England Crowd graciously appreciated the hometown love.  However, Chesney was extra emotional and animated.  He normally is very active on stage, but this night, being the final Tour stop, he seemed to full of smiles more than most. 

Chesney, for me, really shines on two songs: “I Go Back” and “Anything But Mine”.  They are the type of songs when you hear them live at his show, they are ten times better than the radio version.  The crowd sings back to him in unison with such precision and he responds to a tee. 

At one point, CMA Chief Executive Officer Steve Moore came out on stage and presented the inaugural CMA Touring Musician Award to Chesney’s keyboard player Wyatt Beard.  Chesney said he had hired Beard ten minutes before leaving for a tour several years ago and he seemed proud to give the trophy to his bandmate – and they shared an emotional embrace. 

Chesney brought out tour-mates Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington to help him sing some of his biggest hits.  Uncle Kracker sang “When The Sun Goes Down” and did a cover of Kid Rock’s “Cowboy” while Currington came out for the second half of the song “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy”. 

Kenny sang “Boys Of Fall” to end his set and stated how proud he was to sing that particular song in a Stadium where so much history had been made.  In expected fashion, he had images of Tom Brady and various other New England Patriots on the big screen, resulting in an uproar from the crowd.

The best part of the night was the ending when Chesney brought out the Zac Brown Band for a medley of songs.  It is obvious that Chesney and Zac have become very good friends on the Tour.  Chesney even told the crowd that Zac had set up a party the night before in which he and both members of the Bands sat around and played acoustic songs until 2 a.m. together.  The both signed the boots Kenny was wearing during his set (during the encore he performed in bare feet with mesh shorts and a baseball cap, instead of his normal boots, jeans, and cowboy hat).

Zac and Kenny traded vocals on various covers – including Alabama’s “Dixieland Delight” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas”, Garth Brooks’ “Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old”, a few Bob Marley songs (in which Zac showcased his reggae skills), Sublime’s “Caress Me Down” and Tom Petty’s “Running Down a Dream”.  As helped each other out on their own singles “Knee Deep” and “Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven”.  At one point, Kenny’s tourmates dumped a cooler of ice water on him.  He had to take of his shirt (in which the women around me went crazy for) and put on a sleeveless Highway 20 Ride Zac Brown Band t-shirt.

Zac Brown and his band dominated the encore when they shocked the crowd and started doing some Hip-Hop songs including Sir-Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”.  If you thought ZBB was talented before, their medley of three hip hop songs made that even more evident.  I wouldn’t be surprised if they come out with a country-hop song in the near future, that’s how strong Zac’s flow was.  Even Zac’s security guard, Mastiff, came out to rap on the final song.

The show was overall better than the one I saw at New Meadowlands Stadium and had much more energy.  Chesney seemed to hug and show love to each member of his own band, the Zac Brown Band, and each of his stage-hands and tourmates.  All 59,000 people in that wet Stadium could see two things were very evident that night: (1) It is easy to see why Kenny Chesney is considered one of the best live performers in all of music today and (2) the Zac Brown Band is well on its way to be placed in that same league. 

Also, one final note – I have heard horror stories about the traffic getting into and out of Gillette Stadium.  Even though the show was clearly sold out, I sat in about two minutes worth of traffic total.  I’m guessing the credit should go to the Police of Foxboro, MA because it was clear sailing both in and out (for me at least). 

Kenny Chesney – “You & Tequila”

Kenny Chesney and The Zac Brown Band Prove to be Giants at the Meadowlands

Kenny Chesney’s Goin’ Coastal Tour
New Meadowlands Stadium
August 13, 2011
with Zac Brown Band, Billy Currington, & Uncle Kracker

On August 13, 2011, Kenny Chesney brought his Goin’ Coastal Tour to New Jersey.  This show was special for a great number of reasons.  First off, Kenny is one of the few artists of ANY genre of music that can fill Stadiums up across the country and this was no exception.  That steamy Saturday in East Rutherford, New Jersey a record breaking crowd was on hand to see the country crooner and his large list of guests.  This particular show sold just over 55,000 tickets.  Not since country legends Johnny Cash, Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard came around in 1983 had a country concert in New Jersey sold over 50,000 tickets.  This show passed that show’s number in attendance.  Sure Kenny is one of the best in the business today, but having the Grammy Award Winning and multi-talented Zac Brown Band on the bill with him sure helped with sales quite a bit.  Throw in Billy Currington and Uncle Kracker as openers and this made the Goin’ Coastal Tour the must see tour of the summer. 

Uncle Kracker and Billy Currington opened up their shorter sets with lots of familiar music.  Uncle Kracker did his biggest hits such as “Follow Me” and “Smile” and stole some material from his old touring buddy, Kid Rock, as well as Kenny Rogers.

Billy Currington proved to be a crowd favorite with lots of summer drinking music such as “People Are Crazy” and “Pretty Good At Drinking Beer”.  Billy used the stage and the catwalk in a slow walk, but the crowd really responded to his easy-going music.  He closed out his set with “Good Directions”, a huge hit that was co-penned by Luke Bryan – and the crowd sang along with every word.  By the time Billy was finishing up his set, I looked up from the floor to the 3 tiers of sections in the New Meadowlands Stadium and the place was absolutely packed. 

I overheard many people who were tailgating in the parking lot state they were more excited to see the Zac Brown Band than the opener and for good reason.  This band has released 8 singles to country radio and all of them have hit number 1 on the mediabase and billboard country charts.  Zac Brown, naturally, is the lead singer and captain of the band.  However, he makes sure that the crowd knows this is not a front man act – that they are whole band.  And the entire band had their own time to shine on this day.  Zac belted out his amazing vocals and intense guitar playing skills on hits like “Toes”, “As She’s Walking Away” and “Highway 20 Ride”.   Jimmy DeMartini, the fiddle player/violinst, absolutely memorized the crowd with his ridiculous talent.  He had tons of solos such as “Quite Your Mind” and “Free” and even used his fingers on the fiddle on “Where the Boat Leaves From”.  People were shaking their heads with their jaws dropped when the spotlight was on Jimmy.

Even members like Clay Cook and Coy Bowles got their “rock star” moments on the song “Who Knows” which is essentially a ten minute jam out song with two minutes of vocals.  The drummer, Chris Fryar, changed his clothes halfway through the band’s set from a New York Jets jersey to a New York Giants jersey – which made fans of both teams smile in admiration.  Finally, John Driskell got to add some vocals on “It’s not Okay” and had the crowd dancing and laughing at the lyrics.

The band had a large group of the United States military come to the front of the stage before the song “Free” and they stayed throughout the final songs which happened to be a mash-up of “America, The Beautiful” and the band’s biggest single to date, “Chicken Fried”. 

The Zac Brown Band oozes with talent, passion, emotional and unbelievable music ability.  This band will be around for a very, very long time – and will be headlining their own Stadium Tour sometime soon, mark my word. 

After a brief delay, the rain started to fall and the crowds retreated for cover and beer refills.  But, when the lights went dark, the crowds ran to their seats – not even caring it was still raining.  And the stage curtains raised, but Kenny Chesney appeared on a raised swing in the back of the Stadium, floating above the 55,000 cheering fans.  He sang the entire first song, a recent number 1 single, “Live A Little” while flying above the crowd.

Once he landed, he was off and running, literally. The man used every inch of the massive catalk and stage.  The lights went crazy in every direction and the huge interactive screens portrayed Kenny in different sides and angles throughout the concert.  Kenny smashed through his hits and recents songs off his newest album, “Hemmingway’s Whiskey”.

Kenny Chesney is the penultimiate performer and he really showed it this night.  From his acoustic takes on “You and Tequila” to his giant hits like “I Go Back” and “Keg in the Closet”, Kenny had the crowd in the palm of his hand.  He cranked out hit after hit after hit, each song performed with just as much energy as the one before. 

Kenny brought out all of his opening acts for certain select songs and covers. He of course performed “When the Sun Goes Down” with Uncle Kracker, which is one of the best summer concert songs anyone has ever written.  He kept Kracker on stage for their take on The Allman Brothers song, “Midnight Rider” and even did their best hip-hop/country mash-up to Kid Rock’s “Cowboy”.

Kenny then surprised the crowd and absolutely shocked me, when he changed genres up completely and sang “Blister in the Sun”, a Violent Femmes Cover.  For this, he even brought the original songwriter of the song, Mark Tamburino, out for the song. 

Once the Encore came, Kenny ripped right into “She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy” and brought out  Billy Currington for some help.  Unbelievably, the best part of the night was yet to come:


At this point of the show, Kenny brought out the Zac Brown Band as they teamed up with Chesney and his band during eight unbelievable songs.  Zac and Kenny took to the front and sang two of the famous country band, Alabama’s biggest hits: “Dixieland Delight” and “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas”.  They teamed up for each other’s “summery” singles “Knee Deep” and “Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven”.

Then for good measure they brought up the New York Yankees’ slugger Nick Swish to help them sing “The Joker” by the Steve Miller Band.  Any fan of baseball knows how much a swagger and overall enthusiasm Nick Swisher has and he was full of smiles and fist pumped on stage. 

Zac and Kenny and their bands finished things out with a Bob Marley, Sublime and Tom Petty Cover.  They even brought ZBB-protege Sonia Leigh, the New York Jets’ coach Rex Ryan, Kenny’s mother, and others on stage to help sing and finish the party out.

Nick Swisher:

Rex Ryan:

Overall, the show was long (almost six and a half hours of music), but never slowed down.  Zac and Kenny electrified the crowd and all 55K went home happy – tired and very happy.  If there was any indication that country music was alive and well in the Garden State, you just had to look at the parking lot that became the New Jersey turnpike.  But despite the traffic and rain that night, you could tell that everyone walked away satisfied.  There are only a few more dates left on this tour and I am attending one again at the end of August – I would suggest any and all to check it out. 

 Kenny Chesney Setlist:

  1. Live a Little
  2. Reality
  3. Summertime
  4. Beer In Mexico
  5. The Woman With You
  6. Big Star
  7. I Go Back
  8. No Shoes, No Shirt, No Problem
  9. Anything But Mine
  10. There Goes My Life
  11. You and Tequila
  12. Living In Fast Forward
  13. Young
  14. Happy Birthday to Ken (Chesney’s road manager)
  15. Somewhere With You
  16. Don’t Happen Twice
  17. Never Wanted Nothing More
  18. Out Last Night
  19. When the Sun Goes Down with Uncle Kracker
  20. Midnight Rider – The Allman Brothers Band Cover
  21. Cowboy – Kid Rock Cover with Uncle Kracer
  22. Blister in the Sun – Violent Femmes Cover with the songwriter Mark Tamburino
  23. How Forever Feels
  24. The Boys of Fall
  25. Encore:
  1. She Thinks My Tractor’s Sexy with Billy Currington
  2. Dixieland Delight – Alabama Cover with Zac Brown Band
  3. If You’re Gonna Play in Texas  – Alabama Cover with Zac Brown Band
  4. Knee Deep – with the Zac Brown Band
  5. Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven – with Zac Brown Band
  6. The Joker – Steve Miller Band cover with moreZac Brown Band and appearance on-stage by Nick Swisher of New York Yankees
  7. Three Little Birds – Bob Marley Cover with Zac Brown Band
  8. Caress Me Down – Sublime Cover with Zac Brown Band
  9. Runnin’ Down a Dream – Tom Petty Cover with Zac Brown Band
Zac Brown Band Setlist:
  1. As She’s Walking Away
  2. Toes
  3. It’s Not Okay
  4. Where the Boat Leaves From
  5. Crazy Love
  6. Islands in the Steam Cover
  7. Highway 20 Ride
  8. No Hurry
  9. Devil Went Down to Georgia – Charlie Daniels Cover
  10. Quiet Your Mind
  11. My Name is Money – with Sonia Leigh
  12. Colder Weather
  13. Keep Me In Mid
  14. Who Knows
  15. Whatever It Is
  16. Settle Me Down
  17. Whiskey’s Gone
  18. Free
  19. America The Beautiful Cover
  20. Chicken Fried
Billy Currington Setlist:
  1. Thats How Country Boys Roll
  2. I Want To Be A Hillybilly
  3. I Got A  Feeling
  4. Love Done Gone
  5. Pretty Good At Drinking Beer
  6. All Day Long
  7. Let Me Down Easy
  8. Don’t
  9. Family Tradition – Hank Williams Jr. Cover
  10. People Are Crazy
  11. Must Be Doing Something Right
  12. Good Directions
Uncle Kracker Setlist:
  1. Little While
  2. Drift Away
  3. Follow Me
  4. The Gambler – Kenny Rogers Cover
  5. Good To Be Me
  6. All Summer Long – Kid Rock Cover
  7. Smile


1. Quiet Your Mind – Fiddle Solo – Zac Brown Band

2. Dixie Land Delight – Kenny Chesney with the Zac Brown Band