PopFilter Special Report:
My First Country Concert
Every now and again, you find yourself doing something completely out of the ordinary, oftentimes at the behest of a significant other. Some people love meat and try vegetarian or vegan food. Some people don’t care or know anything about sports but end up going to a football game. As for me, I went to a country concert. If you have read anything I have ever written about music, you know that country would not be considered my number one interest. I like singer/songwriters that make me want to cry and curl up in a little ball while I marvel at the simplistic beauty of their melodies, harmonies and chord structures. I am not known for my love of drinking beer, fishing or the stars and bars. And yet, I went.
To begin, I was told over and over before the concert from various sources that country concerts are unlike any other. The people are very nice, friendly and just there to “have a good time”, whatever that means. The shows that I typically attend are filled with people in tight hoodies standing stoically with their arms crossed, waiting for the band to finish the song before arbitrarily clapping. This concert was very much the first thing and not at all the second.
In my head, the people that go to country concerts are good ol’ boys and sluts. And while those two categories of people were there in full force, there were also a large number of families, jocks and hipsters. Yes, hipsters. And these hipsters weren’t just standing around with their arms at their sides either. They were dancing, putting their arms up and singing along to the songs. I know! I couldn’t believe it either.
To get to the show, however, I must admit that the amount of fun that I had made me feel like an asshole. I assumed that I would be standing around waiting for the thing to be over with, broken up by intermittent fits of fun. The fact is that this thing was fun from start to finish. The musicians were incredibly talented and, as with any live show, that’s the crux of my good time. If the band sucks and the singer is shitty, my time if ruined. The fact that these people all sounded as good or better than their recordings blew me away. The musicianship on display at the show was unexpectedly professional. It truly made me think that country producers must not use as many studio tricks as their rap, rock and pop counterparts. Yes, a country concert MADE ME THINK. It’s nuts, I know.
And while the musicians did a great job, the main focus was on the singers, Luke Bryan and Jason Aldeen. These two men know how to put on a fucking show. They were charming, funny and interesting to watch. They knew exactly how to play to the southern California audience without seeming like they were pandering the entire time. I assume that there is a lot of grooming that goes into an artist like this, both from the label as well as the tour manager, but whatever hard work went in to turning these country boys into super stars has paid off.
At the end of the night, my girlfriend asked me if I had a good time. I knew the question would be coming and before the show I was dreading the thought of lying to her face. Instead, when I said ‘yes’, I was telling the truth. The show, the music and the atmosphere were all superlative. And while this is not something I will be making a habit of, I would be much more willing and content to go to a country show now then I ever have been in my entire life. And that is fucking saying something.
Jason R. Noble