McGraw plays his role perfectly on opening night
I had the opportunity to see Tim McGraw several years ago. It was the evening he fell victim to tragic miscasting at the Harley-Davidson 100th Anniversary.
McGraw brought his Southern Voice Tour to the Marcus Amphitheater Thursday night, but this time he was the perfect leading man -- a storyteller, cowboy and sex symbol rolled into one.
Dressed in a tight (and by tight I mean, "you could see his nipples from the lawn seats tight" t-shirt) he roared into the show's opener, "Real Good Man." By the time he hit the chorus of "Where the Green Grass Grows" two songs later, he had the entire farmer's daughter convention eating out of the palm of his hand.
Early in the set, he gave a nod to his longtime backing band, the Dancehall Doctors, proudly proclaiming "We don't bullsh*t. We just play music," and then proceeded to launch into "She's My Kind of Rain."
Really? Dude, you can't whip a crowd into a wild frenzy by droppin a "bullsh*t'" on them and go into a love ballad. You gotta whoop some tractor ridin' ass when you stake that claim.
Midway through his set, McGraw took a stool center stage to perform acoustically. He's been performing the Warren Brothers' "Blank Sheet of Paper" regularly this tour, but when Brett and Brad Warren took the stage to join him for their hit song, the evening took a significant turn for the better. They launched into an impromptu version of Taylor Swift's "Tim McGraw," prompting McGraw himself to note, "what better topic could you sing about?" After which they immediately changed the lyric to "Kenny Chesney," a very "short" song according to Brett.
When you have three greatest hits albums, it's pretty easy to assemble a killer set, but it's also easy to leave out a few fan favorites. Conspicuous by their absence were the Jason White penned "Red Rag Top" (do yourself a favor and pick up "Shades of Gray"), Ryan Adams' "Where the Stars Go Blue", and "My Next 30 Years." However, he filled those gaps seamlessly with Elton John's "Hold me closer Tony Danza" and the classic ho-down, let 'em hear 'ya all the way to She-vagas, "I Like It. I Love It."
The encores included the life-lesson classic 'Live Like You Were Dying' and the evening closed with "The Cowboy in Me."
Supporting McGraw was Lady Antebellum, widely known in these parts as the band with the chick singer (Hillary Scott), Aaron Rodgers might be dating.
Arguably the hottest country act right now, they delivered a solid set of hits including "I Run to You" and "Love Don't Live Here," eventually closing with the John Mellencamp anthem "R.O.C.K in the U.S.A." (Side note to male band members Dave Haywood and Charles Kelley: Greg Evigan called. He wants his beard back.)
Personally, I was particularly anxious to see the opening act, Love and Theft. Riding on the popularity of their rising hit, "Runaway", L&T hit the sweet spot between pop and country solidly. Unfortunately, their tight harmonies and great hooks seemed to be swallowed up by the magnitude of the amphitheater setting. They may hit the big rooms someday, but for now, this is a band that needs to be seen in a mid-size theater to fully appreciate their talent and ability.
"Elton John's "Hold me closer Tony Danza" a tired half-assed review with tired half-assed jokes from KB. why am i not surprised?
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