OK, I get it.
When the four armed servicemen came out followed by 100-year old World War II veteran and local resident Lucky Mullins, all who stood in front of a back drop of waving American flags, I finally got Country music.
This rather moving show of thanks was all thanks to Brad Paisley who paid tribute to those who keep the lights on about an hour into his 24 song set in front of a pretty thankful crowd at Sunlight Supply Amphitheater on Saturday in Ridgefield, WA just outside Portland, OR. And the timing was certainly not coincidentally either, as Paisley’s patriotism and appreciation came during the middle of “This is Country Music” as he said, pointing at Mullins and the four active duty soldiers, “This is who got us here and these are the guys that keep it going” before inviting all five to have a beer and join an existing crowd of fans at the rear of the stage to watch the rest of the show as he dove back into his guitar.
But it’s not all America and Heartland because if you still don’t get Country music just check out all the women who try and rush to the front of the stage and those who don’t, spend much of the show dancing away. If it’s not the country, just hanging out or human nature Paisley gushes about, then he’s waitin’ on a woman, inspecting her for ticks or referring to the one in his life as “My Miracle,” the title of his newest single.
Paisley, currently on his 2019 World Tour, and his back-up band of six played a rather efficient hour and 45 minutes moving the set along swiftly and quickly bringing the pace of the show up when he’s getting a bit down. The large stage set suited him well which featured a massive projection screen for video display.The 18,000 seat venue was hardly a sell-out, maybe 50 percent remaining earlier this week, but the lawn was jam-packed and the 200 level filled in nicely, after all.
Brad Paisley doesn’t screw around – much – getting right to it at the start with “Beat This” and continuing with a selection of solid country rock songs in “Ticks,” “The World,” “Perfect Storm” and one of his best tunes in “Water.” He slowed up a bit with the great country ballad “Then (My Whole World)” and every female fan’s favorite “Waitin’ On a Women” keeping the late Andy Griffith part of the show as he’s done for years.
Nor does Paisley mean business all the time though, as he clearly brings the fun with his lively hit “Celebrity,” poking fun at himself but a mostly satirical take on the pitfalls of fame that bereft those in the business of some privacy and respect. He brought out show openers Riley Green and Chris Lane to help out on vocals and some comedic effects for “I’m Still a Guy” which he introduced by saying he’s been on a journey to better understand the female species.
Yes, Paisley has roots in country, often mixing in that recognizable twang, but he rocks out quite often, shredding through solos as he did on “Perfect Storm,” “American Saturday Night” and nothing but a great rock jam to finish off “Water.” Then when he makes Country music sad again, boy is he ever so effective. The reflective “Letter to Me,” though not sad in a mushy sort of way, gets you thinking about life a bit. But those descriptive opening lyrics to “Whiskey Lullaby” certainly punches right in the gut and the love song “She’s Everything I Ever Wanted” (now you see why women love this guy!) probably gets played at many weddings and certainly will or was played for the couple Paisley allowed to dance on stage. And those two weren’t the only ones who left with a memory for a lifetime as Paisley gave away one of his guitars to one lucky young fan and allowed another who celebrated a birthday to sing a line of “Today” which closed the main set.
Paisley encored with audience favorite “Alcohol,” a playful take on the trials and tribulations many have gotten into after consuming a bit much. Surely something the woman paramedics tended to in the parking lot after the concert and the man trying to walk a straight line in front of a police officer a few miles down the highway can attest.
A country star, no doubt, but Paisley comes across as a pretty down to earth musician who’s seems to be just a guy.
That’s Country music.
Brad Paisley Setlist at Sunlight Supply Amphitheater:
- Beat This Summer
- The World
- Perfect Storm
- Then (My Whole World)
- Waitin’ On a Woman
- I’m Still a Guy
- This is Country Music
- American Saturday Night
- Last Time for Everything
- Old Alabama
- Letter to Me
- Crushin’ It
- Chattahoocee (Alan Jackson cover)
- Whiskey Lullaby
- She’s Everything
- I’m Gonna Miss Her
- Mud on the Tires