FLATTS AND SWIFT PLAY FOR A SELL OUT CROWD
Five Rascal Flatts concerts, three years of observing their career, finally getting to meet them… priceless! I confess I was as excited as the numerous school girls I saw attending Saturday’s Rascal Flatts concert at Nissan Pavilion July 26th. I had prepared a small gift bag for “The Guys” (Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney, and Jay DeMarcus) as a token of my appreciation for their music. Inside was coffee from The Frenchman’s Corner, concert photos, carved wooden crosses by my Dad and a personal note of thanks from me. In a today’s culture where we often hear negative messages in lyrics, Rascal Flatts remains upbeat and positive. They have also been extremely generous in giving their time and money to worthy causes, one being the Monroe Carell Jr. Children’s Hospital at Vanderbilt in Nashville, TN. Can you tell I’m impressed with these young men?
There were 80+ people backstage to meet Rascal Flatts and after standing in line for 40 minutes it was finally my turn. I handed my gift to Gary LeVox and told him I’d been waiting three years to meet them. He said, “Well come on over here!” throwing his arm around me for a hug. Joe Don heard there was coffee in the bag and said, “Oh boy! Thank you so much” and both he and Jay DeMarcus gave me hugs. I noticed how each one made eye contact and sincerely thanked me for being a fan and coming to the show. The “Meet and Greet” didn’t last long but the guys made the most of the short time they had with every person they met.
When my husband and I made our way into the Pavilion for the concert we were amazed by lack of empty seats. The place was packed! Reports of it being a sold out show were no exaggeration.
Rascal Flatts exploded onto the stage – literally. There was a loud BANG and the curtain fell revealing a folding staircase that lowered, releasing the guys into bright lights and smoke. Throughout the evening there were flashing light shows and dancers in the background but the show belonged to Rascal Flatts. They opened with the title cut from their latest CD “Still Feels Good” and moved into the popular “Life Is A Highway.” The crowd roared its approval, waving arms in the air and pumping fists. During the night Gary LeVox borrowed hats from various people in the audience, wore them for a while then tossed them back. Jay DeMarcus entertained us with his impersonation of phone conversations between ladies planning their “girl’s night out” to see Rascal Flatts in concert. He even gave us a sample of the way women walk. Personally I think he needs a little more practice…
Joe Don Rooney gave an acoustic guitar performance as he sang “I’m Movin’ On” and Jay De Marcus accompanied himself on the keyboard as he sang “Skin (Sarah Beth)” but the rest of the evening belonged to Gary LeVox and his strong vocal skills. Whether they are singing ballads like “My Wish,” “Bless the Broken Road,” “Feels Like Today” or rousing numbers like “Fast Cars and Freedom” and “Me and My Gang,” their blend of harmonies is so rich you find yourself smiling and wanting to join in.
As for the opening act, Miss Taylor Swift, who is all of 19 years old with a stage presence of someone who has been performing for many years, all I can say is this girl is going places! She’s spirited and fun and she sang several of her hits. During “Our Song,” “Teardrops on My Guitar,” and “Tim McGraw” she was sweet and demur but when it came to “Picture to Burn” and “Should’ve Said No” she let loose. In fact she beat on garbage cans with drumsticks demonstrating her rage when her boyfriend should have said no to an offer from another girl.
You can believe what you’ve heard about Taylor Swift appreciating her fans. She met many of them before the concert and I was blessed to be one of them. In person she’s tall and willowy, glowing with personality. She posed for photos and signed autographs. One young boy had a sign that said, “Taylor, you can drive my truck when I get one.” She laughed and signed his sign. I’ve seen her perform at a benefit concert in Nashville, open for both George Strait, and Brad Paisley so I put together a photo collage to give her. She said, “Is this for ME??” and was very sweet.
At the end of Rascal Flatts’ show Taylor emerged wearing a Washington Redskins Jersey with “Taylor” across the back to the delight of fans.
Be sure to watch for Taylor’s newest song “Change” to be played during the 2008 Olympics. Yes indeed, she’s definitely one to keep an eye on.