An “American Saturday Night” in Bristow, VA
Catching everyone off guard (including yours truly) Brad Paisley appeared in the audience to open the show at Nissan Pavilion July 25th with a brief rendition of “Start A Band” then moved onto the stage to sing “American Saturday Night”. It was obvious Brad was determined to make sure this concert was a party for everyone who showed up. From the huge hi-def jumbo-tron screens for the folks on the lawn to the cat walk and far corners of the stage which he frequently visited, Brad made sure nobody felt left out.
Then there was the music. Brad carefully selected a variety of songs that encompassed American life: Childhood (“Water,” “Letter to Me”), Relationships (“Waitin’ On A Woman,” “Mud on the Tires,” “She’s Everything”), Self Image ( “On-Line,” “The World” “Celebrity”), Hanging out with the guys (“Catch All the Fish,” “I’m Gonna Miss Her”), Humor (“The Pants,” “Ticks,” “Alcohol”), and Faith (“When I Get Where I’m Going”).
Brad also created a cartoon animation for the big screen portraying various country music artists in trouble (Carrie Underwood, Kenny Chesney, Reba McEntire, Toby Keith) requiring “Super Brad” to come to the rescue. I was torn between watching the animation and watching Brad when he played guitar right in front of me.
Not only did Brad start his concert in the audience but he ended it there as well by leaving the stage and going out into the 200 section of seats during a guitar solo to the thrill and delight of his fans. What a guy!
Special guests appearing with Brad for the evening were Jimmy Wayne and Dierks Bentley. I had the pleasure of meeting both of them before the concert and learned a couple of interesting facts about these two young men.
Jimmy Wayne wears Brut cologne – how do I know this? Jimmy asked if I recognized the fragrance, I did and he confirmed it. He thinks it’s a very economical choice. Of course one of the DJs in the room teased Jimmy saying his grandfather wears Brut but I can still remember how popular it was in the 1970’s (was it that long ago???).
Dierks Bentley played paintball in 90 degree heat earlier in the afternoon. How do I know? For one thing his tour manager told us while we were waiting in line to meet him. But I found out first hand. After we posed for our photo together I patted his side and thanked him. He winced and said I found the spot where he got hit with a paint ball. He then proceeded to pull up his shirt and show me the red welt. I wonder which one of his band mates “nailed” him with that shot?
As for their performances Jimmy Wayne was quite the crowd pleaser following Brad’s example by venturing into the audience twice during his songs to pose for photos and dance with the ladies. His vocals were intense as he sang “Do You Believe Me Now,” and “I'll Be That.” The joy of being on tour with Brad was written all over his face. He was well received by the crowd and judging by the long line waiting for autographs after the show folks are starting to notice his talent.
Dierks Bentley should be named the running man of country music. I’ve never seen anyone race around so much during a performance without being winded while singing. His endurance is incredible. He certainly got the crowd warmed up starting with the energetic “Sideways,” followed by “Lot of Leavin’ Left To Do” and several of his major hits. He used every inch of the stage and catwalk, leaning far out into the crowd to hold hands, give high fives and connect with fans.
Kudos to Brad Paisley for being so generous and allowing his opening acts to utilize his entire stage and catwalk. Not all headlining artists are as accommodating. It certainly made for a fun-filled, interactive concert.