Blake Shelton

Written by on July 25, 2013 in Cover Story, July 25, 2013, Live Reviews - Comments Off on Blake Shelton

July 20, 2013
Jiffy Lube Live
Bristow, Virginia

Blake Shelton - AAM Cover StorySaturday, July 20, was a scorcher at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow, Virginia (www.livenation.com) not only because it was over 95 degrees outside but because Blake Shelton came to town with his Ten Times Crazier Tour and let me tell you, he lit it up!

The almost sold out crowd came ready to party and it got started long before the show even began, judging from the parking lot parties I witnessed on the way into the amphitheater.

Beginning the night was Jana Kramer (www.janakramer.com) .

She entertained the audience with her songs from the self-titled album released last year such as “Good Time Comin’ On”, “Whiskey”, “Why You Wanna”, and “I Hope it Rains”, and a new single from her upcoming album.

While personally, I’m not a big fan myself, there were quite a few there that were and she gave them what they came for. She did her best to entertain the crowd and get them standing but not many would get up on their feet or do more than dance in their seats and maybe that had a lot to do with the fact that it was so freaking hot most of them were busy running to the concession stands for a cool beverage (ahem, beer or margaritas) or they were fanning themselves just praying for a breeze.

I think she has done a good job getting herself out there spreading the word about her music and I believe with the release of her upcoming album she’ll be winning the hearts of many more fans.

Next up was Easton Corbin (www.eastoncorbin.com)

By the time Easton Corbin took the stage the crowd had obviously grown and by this time there were several that were double fisting the huge 24 oz beers being sold by the second and the rest were still trying to escape the heat which was about to be turned up a little.

They were treated to a round of songs from his first album (self titled) and his newest release (All Over The Road). His set included “That’s Gonna Leave A Memory” and “That’ll Make You Wanna Drink”, as well as “I’m A Little More Country Than That”, “All Over The Road”, and his new single “Are You With Me”. There were also a few cover songs thrown in for good measure like “Watching Airplanes” by Gary Allen and “Where I Come From” by Alan Jackson. The crowd seemed to be more involved and rowdier as his segment progressed and by the time he covered Alabama’s “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas” they were warmed up and ready to go. He finished with “Roll With It” and thanked the audience.

His music is more recognizable and the audience was more receptive to him as well but it still took songs that were more well known by other artists to get the reaction from the crowd that I’m sure they wanted. I do like some of the songs I heard and I sing along with the radio when they are on. I think like Jana Kramer, they are making their way into the world of country music and while he has more experience than she does, they both could take a lesson from watching Blake Shelton and other more seasoned artists when they are on stage. They both seem to be lacking in the stage presence department. They just need to continue making their way through the muck and the mud, it will all come with time as well as the approval of country music fans, me being one of them, who, from what I hear take quite a lot of time to warm up to new comers and new music.

Now for what everyone was waiting for: Mr. Blake Shelton (www.blakeshelton.com)

I had a feeling this was gonna be a fun night because there was a tweet from Blake Shelton earlier in the day that said “Ok Bristow, Virginia…I’m in town and I’ve been drinking!!! Let’s blow the roof off this somebatch tonight!!”

After a long enough break to make a beer run, the stage goes dark and after a minute or so there are 3 grain silos lit up by this purple light and then a shadow appears behind one of them and the crowd was on their feet clapping and hollering. The silo lifts and Blake Shelton appears on stage and opens the night with “All About Tonight”. He tells the audience afterwards that “this could potentially be a bad night because I’ve been drinkin’ for a couple of hours and when I drink I play country music”, of course the audience responds by laughing and screaming their approval. After that statement he played “The More I Drink” and proceeded to tell the audience, “I drug my big ass out here tonight to raise some hell, there are some guys out here who’s wives drug their asses out here to do the same exact thing and I want to Thank each and every one of you tonight for making it out here to be with me”. He follows that up with “Over”. He announces that this is his very first big time tour, which was confirmed to me later on in the night and he says that his managers and publicists have been texting him and emailing him telling him good luck and giving him some time to maybe not make so many references to deer hunting, drinking, and maybe to not be on twitter so much so he decided to tweet back (while on stage) that they can “Kiss My Country Ass”, took a huge swig from his cup (what’s in the cup Blake, your special latte?). This got a huge response from the audience and during the singing of that song he pulls a female member of the audience on stage with him who has that very saying on a sign and she takes her moment in fame to dance around on stage, of course security eventually came and had to carry her off because she evidently had the holy ghost in her or something cause she wouldn’t stop dancing.

The next song was “She Wouldn’t Be Gone”, I noticed a look on his face during this song that to me was saying he really believed and felt the music he sings. He tells the audience that the next song is his new single from his “Based On A True Story” album called “Mine Would Be You”, it’s funny how some of the audience picks the ballads to sit down and catch their breath. He said “I was afraid this might happen. There’s something missing. I know – I brought something that might help” and he turns around and they hand him a cowboy hat like the one he sometimes wears. But then he put it on and attached to the hat was hair and when he put it on, it looked like he had the long hair from his past, it was hilarious. He sings “Some Beach” but detours a little bit when he gets to singing the line “he started drillin’ before I was numb” and looks at the crowd and mouths the words “shit, fuck that hurt” and primps the hair before finishing up the song.

He moves into “Ol’ Red” and when he finished he said he had to point something out, there’s a guy in the front who he said has the coolest girl, who the crowd finds out they are engaged. Blake says she the coolest because during “Ol’Red” , and he has to do a demonstration, the guy was feeling her up and sticking his tongue in her ear and dancing up on her and letting her know what was in store for her later. He said the whole audience was pulling for him but it threw him off a little when he was singing the song. Next up was “Sure Be Cool If You Did” off the new album as well, and then he was telling the crowd that he gets to meet some great people but the coolest person he has met on his show was Usher who insisted on coming and helping with the concert to help the Oklahoma tornado victims but asked that Blake pay him back by performing one of his songs on his tour and post it on youtube and he asked that someone take a video on their phone and post it. Next you heard the music from the song “Yeah” by Usher and green lights everywhere and you hear Blake trying to sing and saying “Yeah” but then he stops and says “Wait a minute” “This ain’t gonna work, this is stupid, that sucks, I’m a hillbilly and this is what a Hillbilly song is supposed to sound like” and he rolls right into his song that he duets with Trace Adkins, ”Hillbilly Bone”. The crowd goes absolutely crazy and you can see everyone in the front all the way back to the lawn area jukin and jiving and singing along having a great time.

The audience was asked “is it ok if I try something on ya’ll?”, the crowd enthusiastically responds, the spotlight shone just on him and his guitar and he explained that the next song was co-written with his wife Miranda Lambert after the death of his brother. A hush fell over the crowd as he sang “Over You”, you could see the pain from his families loss it still has for him to sing that song. When he finished, Blake thanked the crowd some more and said the next song is what he considers “the most important song if my career”, it was his first #1 single and the crowd went crazy within the opening notes of “Austin” and they all sang along with him.

He told the crowd “I was thinking, tonight is one of those epic nights, they should televise this”, he sang “Drink On It” and then he said he “wanted to have one of those moments like Taylor Swift has” and asked the audience if they would hold up their lighters or cell phones while he sang the next song which was a cover of Michael Buble’s “Home”. The place was totally lit up with phones and lighters as far as the eye could see and the crowd sang along with every single word without missing a beat. When he finished he said “That’s so cool.”

The next song was “Honey Bee” and then he performed his smash single “Boys Round Here”, you could feel the end was near and the energy in the crowd surged with this song which has almost become one of those iconic summer songs.

When he finished up he told the audience “Thank You! I freaking love Virginia!” and he walked off for a few seconds before coming back for the encore which was “Footloose” and the crowd started dancing around. The night ended with “God Gave Me You”. He said “Thank Ya’ll so much for coming, this was a great night!”. “Good Night Virginia I Love ya.”

Blake has such a stage presence and entertains and interacts with the crowd so well. The opening acts could learn a lot from being on tour with him. He’s funny as hell, as demonstrated on the show “The Voice” which he has won 3 times and tonight’s performance I found out later after the show that this was his first time at an Amphitheater playing to that large a crowd. He seems to be one of those guys you would just want to hang out and shoot the shit drinking beer with on a lazy afternoon. He has that down to earth country boy personality. It took him a while to gain the popularity he has now and you can tell he’s riding that train til it can’t go no more and he deserves it. I feel like he could follow behind the greats like George Strait, Johnny Cash, & Merle Haggard. I’m a huge fan & I would definitely see him again when he comes back around. Judging by the audience, I would be in good company.

Review by: Melissa Gibson
Photos by: Stephen Gibson Photography