Perfect Vodka Amphitheater was jam-packed with flannel, cowboy boots, and camouflage as attendees eagerly awaited Jason Aldean's presence on Saturday. Parking had been redirected into an angry slew of stop-and-go to other parking lots after the main lot filled early on. Sure, there was a carnival and fright-night-
In a dramatic display of fiery images and actual fire, Aldean emerged on a platform, like a country version of Ra the sun god. The opening song, 2005's "Hicktown," was a fitting introduction for the particular demographic in
Next was the party anthem "My Kinda Party," in which Aldean got on his acoustic and was joined by three other guitarists for some serious
"What's up, West Palm?" the country star asked. Wearing a cowboy hat, gray shirt, jeans, and boots, Aldean screamed "Let's go!" before launching into "Tattoos On This Town." Next were the classic "Amarillo Sky" and the newer jam "Tonight Looks Good on You," the latter of the two singles featuring a backdrop of moon graphics and smoky effects. "Big Green Tractor" played with, of course, a green background and lights. "When She Says Baby," from Night Train, was next, much to the audience's whoops and delights. There was clapping and singing (albeit a bit tone-deaf) all around. "This is a great song," blurted one woman next to me as Aldean played the first few notes of "The Truth." Clearly a hardcore fan, she was able to name the song before it was truly recognizable. This one slowed things down for the audience.
What happened next was truly remarkable: Aldean played a video clip of a group of women afflicted with breast cancer getting taken on a tour of the backstage. Meanwhile, onstage, Aldean presented a check for $615,386 made out to the Susan B. Komen Foundation, all proceeds coming from Aldean's tour. The country singer himself sported a pink sweatband on his wrist to show support.
"Let's get back to business. On with the show," Aldean wrapped the thoughtful break, much to the audience's delight. He jumped into "Gonna Know We Were Here,"
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"The night is young. We're just getting started!" yelled Aldean. Appropriate, as the next track was "Just Getting Started," with shattering glass, waterworks, and dancing girls playing out on the screen behind him, complementing the intense nature and heavy guitar riffs of the song.
Aldean showed off his rap skills with "1994," with audience members gleefully shouting along: "Joe, Joe, Joe Diffie." In a rather strange combination, outer space graphics played out behind this one, but who cared? Aldean was killing it out there. After a quick pause to take a selfie with an elated young girl he brought onstage, Aldean played his single "Night Train," followed by a cover of Bryan Adams' "Summer of '69" and "The Only Way I Know," joined by opening acts Cole Swindell and Tyler Farr.
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"It's the last night of the tour; think I should take a celebratory shot or something," Aldean said as his set wound down. The audience shouted out its agreement. Although he did not indulge in an alcoholic shooter of any sort, a grateful Aldean did get confessional on how far he's come in the past ten years after opening for such acts as Rascal Flatts and Tim McGraw.
"It's time to burn this bitch down!" he yelled finally, before singing "Burnin' It Down." Notice the absence of the letter "g" in "burning" — this man keeps the twang alive and well. With fire, flashing graphics, and after a quick spin, Aldean went into "Crazy Town," letting out what had to be the most impressive display of effects of the night, especially as fireworks erupted in sync with the lyrics "bang, bang, bang."
After exiting the stage, Aldean came back to encore with "Dirty Road" (a personal favorite) and the guitar-heavy "She's Country." The last song was probably the most energetic and crazy, with a final barrage of fire effects and fireworks. In fact, things got so hot that Aldean's main microphone actually caught on fire.
Luckily, no one was too close when it happened, and the band continued to play. Aldean, cool as a cucumber, signed autographs at the end, shaking hands with audience members, indicating that his country fame hasn't gotten to his head, and he can still throw down in Hicktown.