I did not recognize the first warm-up - Jack Ingram - but he was followed, respectively, by Kellie Pickler of "Amreican Idol" fame and Taylor Swift, whom most people recognize by her single, "Tim McGraw." Don't laugh at Kellie - her voice has matured since her stint on the show and she gave a solid performance. Taylor was a hoot and one thing that is clear - piss off this lady and she will write a song about you!
Brad simply rocked. His stage design was super, using animation, large screen video, lighting, everything. He even had a holographic Alison Krauss join him for "Whiskey Lullaby."
He played a number of songs from his new album, "5th Gear," and opened with the very funny song, "Online." The stage set included brodcasting the presumed "chat" that the song's character is having.
When he sang "When I Get Where I'm Going" I could not help crying, especially since it was accompanied by shots of people who have passed, many recognizable to the crowd. You could see people raising their hands at the lines, "When I get where I'm going/And I see my Maker's face/I'll stand forever in the light/Of His Amazing Grace." Brad is not ashamed of his Christianity and has no qualms about putting a Gospel song on his albums.
Another song from his new album garnered more than a few cheers when he introduced it by stating, "Can I just say . . . castration hurts," and urged women to appreciate real men. The song is "I'm Still a Guy" and has as its lyrics:
These days there's dudes getting facials,
Manicured, waxed and Botoxed.
With deep sprayed-on tans and creamy lotiony hands,
You can't grip a tackle box.
Yeah with all of these men lining up to get neutered,
It's hip now to be feminized,
I don't highlight my hair -
I've still got a pair -
Yeah, honey, I'm still a guy.
And what a guy you are, Mr. Paisley - thank you for a great evening of song and virtuoso guitar playing. Kudos to your band, especially the fiddler.
I did not listen to country music growing up, since the Bronx was simply not the sort of place to have that playing. But good music of any genre is worth a listen and for anyone who has not heard Brad Paisley, head over to YouTube and watch a video of one of his songs. Brad Paisley is a talented musician who uses his West Virginia roots to write songs that can be heartbreaking, romantic, and downright hilarious. Support American artists!
UPDATE: If you want to laugh your head off, go over to http://www.bradpaisley.com/ to see the video for "Online" - c'mon, anything that has Jason Alexander and William Shatner in it you know will be funny!