NEIL HAISLOP’S NASHVILLE IQ© reviewed the show this morning:
Brad Paisley's tour rolled into the Hyundai Amphitheater in DeVore, Ca just outside of San Bernadino Saturday. The all-star, four act show, Jack Ingram, Kellie Pickler, Taylor Swift and Brad, had fans on their feet all night long.
PAISLEY OPENED his headline spot with the new single, "Online," (the video of which is selling at record pace, also video director and star, Jason Alexander was at the show and held court backstage).
From "Online," on, fans were out of their seats cheering and singing along with each of Paisley's high impact hits, "Wrapped Around," "Mud on the Tires," "I'm Gonna Miss Her," "Me Neither," "She's Everything," etc.
Paisley is one of the few that can thrill a big crowd (14,000 plus Saturday night), with just his voice and acoustic guitar. He can rivet them with intimate songs like, "We Danced," and light them up with tribute songs to artists that inspired him, such as Alabama's "Dixieland Delight."
What's unique about Brad is that, 8 years ago, he displayed the same amazing affable confidence, musical diversity, instrumental brilliance and stage generalship when we first saw him at an early showcase at the Wild Horse Saloon in Nashville some, that he has today...of course only more-so now, a more refined and distilled, addictive potion of humor, great writing, singing and picking, mixed with songs of real depth and relatability.
GRAND SCALE PRODUCTION...
If you liked Paisley's headlining show last year with it's cool production and use of animated video created by Paisley, your eyes will bug out at the scale of the production and staging this year. The cost of stage and production, around $10.5 million dollars for this year's show, is carried from town to town by 10 semi trailers and the same amount of tour buses.
Brad told us backstage, "We took every bit of the Hershey tour sponsor money and poured in a bunch of our own money to make this what I had wanted it to be for our fans." Multiple giant screens (augmented by florescent looking bars filled with pixel generators), add huge images and great effects during the show.
The STAGE is enormous with a two story-high tier for half the band, and 15ft high stage for Brad to deliver some songs from, plus three ramps (left, right and center stage) thrusting out into the audience allowing the openers, as well as Brad, to get close and personal with a maximum number of fans.
GREAT BAND - A top tier musician like Paisley would naturally demand and attract top pickers for his band, and Paisley's bunch kicks ass from the first note on. Guitarist, Kendal Marcy (former member of the Marcy Brothers, Kevin, Kris and Kendal who charted 6 records in the late '80s), says he's thrilled each night to be part of such a great group of pickers who play their instruments as good as anybody ever did in country. Bottom line, the Paisley tour in '07 is top notch with affordable ticket prices.
MUST MENTION THE FIRST CLASS OPENING ACT LINEUP
JACK INGRAM opened the show at 7:30, well before the sun went down. Some of the California crowd didn't recognize him until he hit them with his #1 hit "Where Ever You Are." That got them running to the edge of the stage with cell phones "clicking." By the time he'd hit them with his power as one of country's most engaging stage personalities, more hits like "Lips of an Angel" and closed with "Love You,"...he was getting plenty of "love him" back from the crowd.
KELLIE PICKLER followed Ingram and was greeted like a star already...and she took the stage like a star. Besides her great voice and looks, the just-turned 21 year-old has an amazing classic country diva presence...a regal quality of a Tammy Wynette or Barbara Mandrell, the playfulness and unguarded humor of Dolly and the sass of Tanya and Lynn. And, it's all in one modern package that had the very young-skewing Paisley audience members rushing the stage to get close and cheering her sweet, and stylishly dramatic, moves she displays like a musical ballerina throughout her set. Amazing to see.By the way, Paisley joked later that, "Kellie turned 21 on our tour and took her first drink of alcohol, and she's been drunk ever since!"
TAYLOR SWIFT received the same big star welcome from the Paisley crowd. Lots of young female fans viewing the messenger of how to get back at the boys that broke their hearts, and the older girls in the audience that never forgot how that feels. Taylor remains hugely confident and at ease on stage. Her band has grown and her stage presence has grown by quantum leaps since we saw her open for Ingram at the Whisky a Go Go, last year. She's only released a couple of hits...but her fans knew the words to most every song she played off her self-titled, self-penned album. Impressive and getting better every time we see her.
In other news:
RASCAL FLATTS' SINGLE OUT TODAY
Rascal Flatts will soon release their 5th studio album and the calling card, debut single, "Take Me There," will be there for digital download this afternoon. The new album hits stores September 25th.
CARRIE UNDERWOOD COUNTRY'S MOST BEAUTIFUL
The July 16th Country Weekly is on stands today and the 'zine asked readers to vote for the most beautiful woman in country music, and the fairest of them all is––Carrie Underwood. Carrie takes the title from the 2006 winner Faith Hill, who placed second in this year’s voting. And cracking the Top 10 for the first time are rising stars Kellie Pickler, at No. 5, and Taylor Swift, who came in at the No. 9 spot.
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