Monday, January 17, 2011

Brad Paisley Concert Review

Concert: Brad Paisley
Opening Act: Darius Rucker
Date: Oct 5th, 2010
Venue: Saddledome

I saw Brad Paisley last time he was in Calgary about a year and a half ago. He put on a great show then, and when my friend called me up today to offer me a free ticket to see him again, it was hard to say no.

Paisley is a monster country guitar player. He certainly knows his way around a fret board, and I can’t help but think that his telecasters are screaming at him for a rest by the end of the night. He had a great 7 piece band backing him up. They had been on the road all summer which was pretty obvious by how tight they were. Paisley’s sound could be described as country rock as it is primarily electric driven. The band had a pedal steel, and a fiddle in it to give it the country sound. All the musicians were top notch, although it was pretty clear that Paisley was the star of the show. There were 2 other guitar players, but Paisley took 99 percent of the solos.
One gets the feeling, that Paisley is really concerned about putting on a entertaining show that isn’t just focused on the music. The videos and animation (he makes a lot of the animation himself) on the screen displayed this. Many of the videos were geared to make the audience laugh, and focus on the screen for most of a song instead of watching Brad and the band. He also ventured out into the audience to perform on a satellite stage in front of the soundboard for a couple of songs. This seems to becoming more of a trend at concerts lately. It added a nice intimate feel and a better view point for a lot of the audience too. Very classy.
As much as I admire Brad as a country guitar player, I have to admit that I find a lot of his songs a little cheesy. To me, it is mind boggling that some of his lyrics produced hit songs. His songs are catchy, but they don’t seem to have a stick with you catchiness that other artists like Keith Urban possess. While I find some of his songs cheesy, that doesn’t mean they aren’t fun. “Celebrity” is a fun look at how everyday people will do anything for their 15 minutes of fame. Paisley does have some solid songwriting skills as displayed in “Whiskey Lullaby.” From the vantage point of the 200 level, it actually looked like Alison Krauss was on stage.
Brad Paisley puts on a great show. He is full of energy, and as a guitar player, I could sit and watch him play all night. I get the vibe that he is a real fun loving guy who likes to have a good time. From watching the videos on the screen, you also get the vibe that he doesn’t take himself too seriously either. This is the second time I seen him live, and I would go again in a heartbeat.
Opening the show was Justin Moore, and Darius Rucker. We arrived too late to see Moore, but caught all of Rucker’s set. He was a great opening act, performing  a mix of his own country songs - which get lots of radio play in Calgary - and Hootie and the Blowfish songs such as “Hold My Hand,” “Let He Cry” and “Only Wanna Be With You.”
One final note, the sound tonight (for Paisley) might have been the best I’ve ever heard at the Saddledome. The mix was excellent.

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