January 19, 2012
Kansas City, MO USA
Review by Dadra Walcher
Photos by Kasi Daine
Brad Paisley - Brad Paisley, The Band Perry, Scotty McCreery
It was a night of American Idols, that's for sure. Or should I see All-American idols instead. Without a doubt, the triple bill of Brad Paisley, the Band Perry and Scotty McCreery was a tremendous way to ring in 2012. Yeah, I know the concert took place on January 19, but let me tell you, a noisy capacity crowd inside the Sprint Center made it seem like New Year's Eve. Young and old alike were ringing in the New Year behind country music's hottest talents. It was an evening no one would soon forget.
Before I get into show specifics, I have to say something about Brad Paisley's extraordinary guitar talents. Most people associate guitar heroes as strictly rock and roll musicians. You never, and I mean never, hear of a guitarist who plays country music influencing any generation of young musicians. Paisley could be the first if given a chance. The chops on this guy are truly unbelievable. Midway through his performance, I found myself more interested in his musicianship than his singing. He may never get the respect he's due from that ‘other' genre of music that worships their guitarists, but there's no doubt in my mind that Paisley could hold his own with the very best of them today.
The first artist to stir up this restless crowd was last year's American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery. There have been a lot of doubts in country music circles as to whether this baritone teen was ready for the big time. His age was always cited as the No. 1 concern. If you asked anyone in the audience tonight if Scotty needed to wait to ‘grow' into his voice before starting a professional career, you would have heard a resounding NO!
I want to give this Garner, North Carolina native kudos for belting out seven songs in 25 minutes from his new album, Clear as Day. I don't care what anyone says, it's one heck of a feat to perform that many songs in a limited amount of time. Highlights included "I Love You This Big" from his American Idol finale, "She Believes in Me" and a crowd favorite, "The Trouble with Girls". Scotty (apparently that's only name people call him these days), was an excellent choice to open the show. It also wouldn't be the last time the crowd heard that beautiful deep voice.
I have got to hand it to the Band Perry. For a new act (and that tag is growing old after a year now), these three siblings have landed some incredibly high profile gigs (last year it was Tim McGraw's nationwide tour). Unfortunately for them, they are way overdue for a new album. Tonight Kimberly Perry started the festivities off with a number that may very well be on the group's new disc - whenever they decide to get off the road and record one. The song was called "Jason." (No word yet on whether this was a break-up song ala the Taylor Swift kind).
Outside of Queen's "Fat Bottom Girl's" (still a curious song to cover), Reid, Neil and baby sis Kim belted out tunes from their platinum self-titled debut that earned them country music's most prestigious awards in 2011. "Miss You Being Gone," "Hip to the Heart" and "All My Life" had the crowd singing every word. The place exploded when the family played their last two numbers, the smash hits "If I Die Young" and "You Lie". When the group walked off the stage after a 40-minute high octane performance, the arena crowd was more than pumped for the headliner's arrival.
Brad Paisley has often been quoted saying he wants to make sure the audiences that attend his shows get their money's worth. Before he even walked on the stage for what would be a two-hour, 22-song performance, he had already delivered on his stated goal with the special guests that had already paraded out to warm up the crowd. Now it was time for him to blow the roof off the Sprint Center, country style. Kicking the show off with "Camouflage" from his latest album, This is Country. It was an excellent way to announce his arrival to the stylish building.
Again, I cannot get over how remarkable this musician is on the guitar. It's even more impresses when you include his handling of the vocal duties as well. Usually one or the other, the singing or the playing, suffers in a live performance when an artist has to perform both tasks. Not Brad Paisley. He was superb at pulling off both with equal aplomb. After "Camouflage," it was time for him to take the audience down memory lane with a little bit of this, and a little bit of that, from his previous albums dating back to "I'm Going to Miss Her" from 2001's Part II.
Paisley had a role in writing every song he performed tonight except "Waiting on a Woman," and his duet with the Band Perry, "Whiskey Lullaby." Outside of those two songs, it was all Brad, all the time. He performed a selection from every album except his debut recording, Who Needs Pictures. Paisley even played the hidden track "Back to the Future" off the American Saturday Nigh recording, slipping it in midway through the show.
The highlight of Paisley's 2012 Virtual Reality Tour was an actual virtual performance involving country music sensation, Carrie Underwood. Paisley performed a duet of his smash hit "Remind Me" with his virtual CMA Award show co-host toward the end of the evening. The special effect of seeing Underwood was quite unique and elicited a cheer from the crowd -- most probably from those folks who had one too many drinks and thought the Oklahoma native had actually flown into Kansas City for the special occasion.
It's hard to argue with an artist that has released six consecutive No. 1 country albums in a ten-year span that featured 15 number one singles. Paisley performed 12 of them this night. As he ended the show with an encore performance of "Alcohol," you couldn't help but think the 40-year old musician was somehow channeling the great Garth Brooks. The country superstar always made sure his audience came first when he performed, and gave them a 110 percent effort every time he played. Paisley heated up the Sprint Center with a spirited performance leaving the crowd wanting more. Talk about kicking ‘mud on the tires'...and then some!
Brad Paisley Set List:
Welcome To The Future
This Is Country Music
Waiting On A Woman
Celebrity (w / Scotty McCreery)
I'm Still A Guy
Letter To Me
Mud On The Tires
Working On a Tan
Whiskey Lullaby (w / The Band Perry)
Back To The Future
I'm Gonna Miss Her
Remind Me (w / virtual Carrie Underwood)
American Saturday Night
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The Band Perry Set List:
Jason (Unreleased track)
Miss You Being Gone
Hip to My Heart
All Your Life
Fat Bottom Girls (Queen Cover)
Postcards from Paris
If I Die Young
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Scotty McCreery Set List:
Water Tower Town
You Make That Look
I Love You This Big
Write Your Number
On My Hand
The Trouble With Girls
Walk in the Country