May 29, 2011
Billy Bob's Texas
Fort Worth, TX USA
Review by Jeff Jones
Photos by Jeff Jones
The Band Perry
On a rare night off from the Tim McGraw tour, country music's latest family sensation, The Band Perry, invaded the turf of the iconic Billy Bob's Texas to pay homage to the legendary honky-tonk. The group, consisting of brothers Reid and Neil Perry along with big sis Kimberly, entertained a packed house of fans Memorial Day Weekend. By the end of the night, you clearly understood why these siblings recently won two Grammy Awards for Best New Artist and top New Vocal group. They really are that good.
There's quite a bit of difference between playing a nightly 30 minute-set as the opener for McGraw and Luke Bryan, and pulling off a 90-minute show on your own. This particular evening, the group would dig into it's repertoire of favorite rock songs from Queen and the Rolling Stones to liven up the crowd. They'd settle them down at the end of the evening with a truly memorable rendition of "Amazing Grace". I will admit that Queen's "Fat Bottom Girls" seems an odd choice for a country band to put on their set list, but Neil Perry did an outstanding job pulling off his best Freddie Mercury. As for the Stones' "Honky-Tonk Woman" goes, it certainly made sense the group would cover this particular tune considering they were holding court in the world's largest honk-tonk.
The Band Perry is interesting on several levels. First off, their debut album contained five tracks written by another family, the Henningsen's, including the hit single "You Like." They are managed by a guy who believes in them just as much as he did another act he discovered in the late ‘80s, some Oklahoma guy named Garth Brooks. And third, these siblings are not only extremely talented performers, they are very active, and engaged, with their audience as well.
There's no doubt that Kimberly Perry is a star in her own right. Brothers Neil and Reed are perfectly happy to sit back and let their sister take the spotlight whenever wants. She lit up Billy Bob's with her radiant smile and angelic voice. She entertained the crowd with light banter throughout the evening. Nine cuts from the group's self-titled debut were performed. Two bonus songs the group performed, "Sugar Sugar" and "Under the Bus", are tunes brothers Neil and Reid have repeatedly said they wish had made their album. Through it all, this crowd knew the words to almost everything the Perry's sang on stage. They became especially engaged with them when they played their hits "Hip to My Heart", "If I Die Young" and the aforementioned "You Lie".
Bob Doyle's management touch, or should I say the tried and proven ‘Brooks' effect', was especially evident after the show ended. Kimberly announced on stage before they left that she and her brothers would be signing autographs immediately after the show. True to her word, the Perry's emerged from back stage, sat behind a table and signed everything in sight for every single fan that stayed behind to pay their respects. Brooks was a genius when it came to connecting with his fans, including his legendary meet and greet that lasted 24 straight hours in the early ‘90s. The Perry's are well on their way to carrying that very same torch under Doyle's guidance. Watching this talented family for the first time, I realized something immediately afterwards. This won't be my last.