(With Gabby Barrett & John Morgan)
Hartford, CT Xfinity Theatre
Yep. So, I did it. I went to my first country show. I decided to check out Jason Aldean on his Rock and Roll Cowboy tour. Having recently gone to my first hip-hop show, I figured what the hell, right? This time, it was me and my wife. My brother happened to be there as well, but we weren’t sitting together.
Going into this show, my expectations were already higher than the hip hop show because these fine rocking folks actually play instruments. And although country isn’t my style, my wife listens to it a lot so I’m familiar with the songs, I really don’t mind it, and live music is always great!
The mix at the venue was great because all night long, the vocals were crisp and no one instrument drowned out the others. It was a nice change from some venues where they bass crushes your skull and you can’t hear the singers.
So, this dude John Morgan opens the show with his killer mustache and Joe Dirt hairstyle. And you know what? It turns out he was really good. I didn’t know any of his songs, nor did my wife, but he had a good sound. He’s been around a while it seems, but perhaps is finally an up and comer. He has some heavy writing credits to his name according to Jason Aldean’s praise of him on stage.
Gabby Barrett was next and my wife was very excited once she realized she would be performing. We only bought tickets so she could see Jason Aldean, so really, anything beyond him was just a bonus. Even I knew Gabby’s songs. She played The Good Ones, I Hope, a cover of Dolly Parton’s Jolene, a cover of Journey’s Don’t Stop Believing (always a crowd pleaser!), and I believe Footprints on the Moon but don’t quote me! There were a few others in there as well. Anyway, she has a great voice and did a nice job performing…while six months pregnant! Her lead guitarist, Cade Foehner, is the baby daddy (and husband). Apparently they were both on American Idol? Gross – this show sucks! But neither won, and now their careers have taken off. Seems to be the way for the non-winners.
Jason Aldean closed out the night of course, and the crowd was really into him. As the bulk of the attendees were true fans, and not casual listeners like me, they really knew the songs. The band would play an opening riff, and the place would go nuts. Thirty seconds later, I’d say “hey, I know this one!” They played a solid 90 minutes set with no encore, because, as Jason put it, “an encore is the stupidest thing in rock n roll.” And he’s right. He makes the third show in recent memory for me with no encore: Jason Aldean, Sammy Hagar, and Smashing Pumpkins.
My only gripe with the set was when he played his big ole hit “If I Didn’t Love You.” Now the album version is a duet with Carrie Underwood, and clearly, I didn’t expect her to be there. BUT…he is touring with Gabby Barrett so why not bring her out for Carrie’s parts? Nope…instead we got a pre-recorded video (probably from the music video) and pre-recorded vocals (probably album version) of Carrie Underwood. That’s lame. Maybe Jason and Gabby don’t actually get along since he did do a duet with John Morgan this not, and also asked the crowd to “give it up” for John the opener. I could be wrong and I got curious. I found a June 23, 2022 article from Music Mayhem Magazine where they asked Jason if he’d use Gabby to fill in for Carrie’s part. Here’s part of his answer: “It’s something we’re talking about for sure. It’d be cool to bring her out at some point and do something, whether it be that, or maybe the ‘Don’t You Wanna Stay’ duet [featuring Kelly Clarkson] from back in the day or something. So yeah, we’ve kind of been throwing around some ideas.” But not for this show apparently. Anyway…
They opened their set with the Beatles Come Together which was pretty sweet. It was a good version that holds up to the Aerosmith version. They then went into Lights Come On which even I know and it’s a pretty sweet opener when you think about it. They followed up with Girl Like You and then went into one that I didn’t know. Throughout the night, they played the hits (again, including songs I actually knew). The set included (though this isn’t all) the following:
- Come Together (Beatles cover)
- Lights Come On
- Girl Like You
- Trouble with a Heartbreak
- Crazy Town
- Big Green Tractor
- What Tequila Does (new song)
- Got What I Got
- When She Says Baby
- The Truth (Performed with John Morgan)
- You Make It Easy
- Heaven (Bryan Adams Cover)
- If I Didn’t Love You (with lame Carrie Underwood video)
- Tattoos On This Town
- Burning’ It Down
- We Back
- Dirt Road Anthem
- My Kinda Party
- She’s Country
- And I believe 5 others. Not bad for a non-country boy like me, ay?
Overall, it was a good show. And I’m only talking about the music itself, never mind the people watching. What is it about Football games and Country Music that attracts tailgating? We got there an only hour before showtime, but most people had been there for I’m guessing hours with their EZ-Up tents, cornhole boards, folding tables, grills, tons of food, and way too much beer. If I were an up an coming country artist, I’d drag my gear there with a generator and entertain the crowd – why not!? Feel free to steal that idea if you’re reading this. Then there were the outfits (or lack of). Oh boy!
So, would I go to another country show? Sure I would! I love live music and even if it’s not my favorite genre, it’s great to see real musicians. Guitars, Bass, Drums, Steel lap guitars….pretty sweet! And these country boys can still play mean guitar solos – that’s not just for the Rock and Metal dudes. Don’t believe me? Check out this video I captured:
Stream his new album here, or buy it here if you still love CDs.
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