A Word from Cheryl:

Thank you for visiting my Concert Review Blog. I have enjoyed attending, photographing and writing about a variety of concerts over the past several years. I hope that my reviews and photos have made you feel like you were right there with me.

At this time in my life I've taken a step back, looked at what’s truly important and have begun to prioritize my time, energy and resources.

I retired from nursing in 2012 and was then able to be with my aging father, who later passed away in June, 2013.

My family is growing dramatically! We now have eight grandchildren and I take every opportunity to be available to help when needed. I also make sure I carve out plenty of time for my husband so that he knows how important he is to me.

Because of this I don't attend many concerts anymore. I try to be selective in choosing a show and do my best to relax and enjoy the experience. I no longer stress about getting the perfect photo or remembering some occurrence so I can write about it.

If you want to view a collection of some of my favorite photos from the past several years you may find them here:
Cheryl's Pearls Photos - Concerts

Thanks again for visiting my site.

May God Bless,

Sunday, July 27, 2008

Rascal Flatts in Bristow, VA - July 26, 2008

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.

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Brad Paisley in Bristow, VA - July 12, 2008


“I don’t care which political party you belong to: Republican or Democrat – tonight you’re all members of the Paisley Party and we’re gonna have a good time!” Brad Paisley exclaimed as he took the stage July 13th at Nissan Pavilion.  Trust me, with Paisley at the helm you’re going to have a fantastic concert experience.  From the moment he stepped into the spotlight and walked down the catwalk reaching far into the crowd he took command.   Opening with “Mud on the Tires” and quickly moving through “Better Than This” and “The World,” Brad Paisley dazzled the crowd with his incredible guitar skills and ever changing selection of uniquely designed paisley guitars.

Mid-way through the concert I was mesmerized by the creative, computer generated cartoon animation utilized to introduce Brad and his band members in the form of superheroes battling super villains.  More impressive was the fact that the animation was done by Brad Paisley himself.

Several times throughout the evening on-screen images played an important role in the musical numbers.  Alison Krauss made a virtual appearance to sing “Whiskey Lullaby” with Brad.  Dierks Bentley appeared briefly on screen for a humorous exchange during “Celebrity” and a previously recorded B.B. King announced “B.B. and B.P. are back in town!” launching into a rousing guitar number.  We experienced a sense of loss and appreciation for those who have gone before as Brad sang “When I Get Where I’m Going” while a montage of familiar faces (Ronald Regan, John F. Kennedy, crew members of the Challenger space shuttle, Dale Earnhardt, Porter Wagoner, and more recently Tim Russert) flashed on the screen.

Brad Paisley has the remarkable ability to move from sensitive ballads into witty, fun-loving songs with ease.  Preparing us for something new, in true Paisley fashion he said “this is one of the most romantic songs I’ve ever written” and with a tender touch on the guitar he proceeded to sing, “She just wants me to support her, and the best way that I’ve found, …with a gentle hand and a loving touch, I put that toilet seat down.”

Jewel with Brad Paisley
Opening for Brad was Dancing with the Stars sensation, Julianne Hough, who’s lively performance included her latest hit, “That Song in My Head.”  Chuck Wicks from the short lived show “Nashville” performed his hit single, “Stealing Cinderella” as well as his new release, “All I Ever Wanted.”  The folk/pop/country artist, Jewel, was probably the most well known of the opening acts.  She sang “Stronger Woman” and “I Do” from her recent album but received greater applause for her older works, “Who Will Save Your Soul” and “You Were Meant for Me” ending her set with an old-fashioned yodel.  She later returned for a duet with Brad singing, “That’s the Way Love Goes.”

There was something for everyone at this concert.  Brad Paisley was true to his word – by the end of the night I definitely felt like I had been to a party and I had a blast!

Brad Paisley’s Set List:
  1. Mud On the Tires 
  2. Better Than This 
  3. The World 
  4. Wrapped Around Your Finger 
  5. She’s Everything 
  6. Celebrity 
  7. Mr. Policeman 
  8. I’m Still A Guy 
  9. Letter To Me 
  10. I’m Gonna Miss Her (Fishin’ Song) 
  11. Instrumental during screen animation 
  12. Whiskey Lullaby 
  13. Acoustic Performance with Jewel – That’s the Way Love Goes 
  14. When I Get Where I’m Going 
  15. Online 
  16. Alcohol
  1. Ticks 
  2. Good Times Roll

Published in the Star Exponent 7-25-08 - Paisley Party Comes to Town