March 6, 2011
Kansas City, MO USA
Review by Laura Hill
Photos by Tim Bischoff
Rascal Flatts - Rascal Flatts, Luke Bryan, Chris Young
There is little doubt that the three mainstays of Rascal Flatts - Gary LeVox, Jay DeMarcus and Joe Don Rooney - love Kansas City. They've been here so many times over the past three years the Sprint Center should name a part of the building in their honor. The fact this band drew over 10,000 fans on a Sunday night is a testament to the love the city has for the band as well. It also didn't hurt the band had two outstanding artists opening the show for them as well.
Chris Young has proved his winning the Nashville Star competition was no fluke. The 25-year old singer powered through a strong set that featured three of his No. 1 hits, Voices," "Gettin' You Home" and "The Man I Want to Be." Young got a strong reception for "Tomorrow," the lead single from his upcoming album, Neon. The crowd was more than happy to provide backing vocals to Young's music throughout his 30-minute set and the gesture wasn't lost on the performer.
Following Young was another rising star, Luke Bryan. Gone are the days when Bryan is strictly know for penning Billy Currington's 2007 breakout hit, "Good Directions." The Georgia native's show was strong mixture of tunes from his two solo albums, with the crowd highlights being "Rain is a Good Thing," "Country Boy," "I Do" and the poignant "Someone Else Calling You Baby." By the time Bryan left the stage, the crowd was more than ready for the main attraction.
Rascal Flatts, as the night would prove, was a celebration of music, both country and classic rock. And J.C. Penney should get some props for running a video before the show ever started advertising their American Living clothing line. (With gas prices on the rise, I'm sure the corporate cash comes in especially handy these days for the tour busses and semis.) I'm not going to bash either party for their integrated marketing strategies, but when you treat your audience like a movie theater crowd, there comes a point where you wonder who's zooming who.
The show finally began with "Bob That Head" from the 2007 album, Still Feels Good - then followed by the band's very first hit, "Praying For Daylight." From that point on, the string of hits the band performed kept the crowd on its feet. "Mayberry," "These Days," "Fast Cars," "What Hurts Most" and "Take Me There" had the audience primed for just about anything the band wanted to do. In this case, it was Journey's classic, "Open Arms." Even though the song segued into the group's massive hit, "Bless the Broken Road," the 'journey' to get there still seemed a little strange.
I've got a problem when a band peppers their performance with cover tunes by other artists, especially when their own impressive repertoire of music is more than enough to carry them through the day, or in this case, a two-hour night. Then again, when you have oversaturated a market like Rascal Flatts has done with Kansas City, maybe you do need a little Boston ("Long Time"), a little Kansas ("Carry on My Wayward Son") and a little Foghat "Free Ride" to get you through evening. And yes, I'm sure Canadian rocker Tom Cochrane appreciates the cover version the band does of his No. 1 hit "Life is a Highway," but still, why rely on hits outside your genre when you're perfectly capable of standing on your own two feet. "Here Comes Goodbye," "Take Me There," "Why Wait" and "I Melt" would have more than appeased an already appreciative crowd without interjecting 'foreign substance' into the mix.
All in all, LeVox, DeMarcus and Rooney left yet another mark on their Kansas City fan base. Everyone left happy, and I suspect in the latter part of 2012, these Rascals will leave their indelible footprints on this adoring city of theirs yet again.