Saturday, January 9, 2010

Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert

Brad Paisley and Miranda Lambert bring hits and surprises at Oklahoma City concert
By Brandy McDonnell
Entertainment writer -
Published: January 9, 2010

Brad Paisley kept the hits and the surprises rocking Friday night as his “American
Saturday Night” tour rolled into Oklahoma City’s Ford Center.
The country music superstar often morphed seamlessly from one smash song to the
next, from the hilarious to the heartfelt, and earned the near-sellout crowd’s adoration
by doing the unexpected, including taking one of his many guitars and playing his way
right off the stage. Oklahoma transplant Miranda Lambert and country newcomer
Justin Moore ably aided the headliner in his quest to celebrate the weekend.
Paisley began his set in startlingly low-key fashion, appearing out of the darkness to
strum and sing an acoustic version of his chart-topper "Start a Band." But with at least
five semi-tractor-trailers of equipment parked outside the Ford Center, fans could
reasonably expect a glitzy stage show, and as the black curtains shrouding the massive
stage fell away, the high-tech visual spectacle blasted into high gear.
As Paisley and his top-notch band launched into the tour’s theme song, “American
Saturday Night,” the first of many elaborate animated videos played across the huge
bank of screens spanning one end of the arena.
“It’s Friday and you don’t have to go to work tomorrow, and that’s a good thing, too,
because by the time we get done, you wouldn’t want to,” Paisley promised. “We’re going
to be playing everything you want to hear, starting now.”
The Grammy winner not only made good on his promise, playing virtually nonstop for
nearly two hours with seemingly endless energy, but he also reaffirmed his reputation
as a musical triple-threat, expertly tearing through guitar solos and belting out lyrics of
his own devising.
The Oklahoma City stop was just the second show on the 2010 leg of the tour, and it
was not without an annoying technical glitch: a faulty panel one of the upper row of
video screens stubbornly resisted repeated efforts to fix it. The malfunction distracted
from some of the showy visuals tricks, but Paisley and his party people soldiered on,
with the star good-naturedly joking that they might be a little rusty getting back on the
“I’m going to try to remember the words to my songs tonight because I had six weeks
off for Christmas. ... Isn’t that normal?” he cracked.
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He later joked “I couldn’t sing this one even when I knew what I was doing” to coax the
crowd into taking over the final verse of the uproarious “I’m Still a Guy.”
“This is what I call the sissy verse, which wouldn’t apply to people from Oklahoma.
There are no sissies in Oklahoma if you can stand wind chills of 30 below,” he said,
exaggerating just a bit about the unusually frigid weather outside.
It didn’t take much convincing on Paisley’s part to get the crowd to take over singing
duties; the fans eagerly shouted out lyrics, cheered with laughter and slow-danced with
their dates as the show dictated. The platinum-selling singer/songwriter/guitarist has
built his career by shifting easily from humorous hits to earnest love songs, and he
continued that pattern in his live show, which also liberally mixed new and old material.
He grinned broadly as the crowd howled its approval for knee-slappers “Celebrity,”
“Online” and “Ticks,” smartly accompanied by scenes from their beloved music videos.
His eyes closed and his voice softened as he crooned the ballads “She’s Everything,”
“The World” and “Then.” His afterlife ode “When I Get Where I’m Going” turned into
an emotional video tribute to celebrities who have died over the past decade, from
Heath Ledger to Dale Earnhardt, as well as to the Oklahoma City bombing.
As he continuously roamed and played across the sprawling stage, Paisley kept the show
lively with a few unpredictable moments, such as walking right off one of the three
catwalks and steadily making his way through the floor-level crowd while racing
through the guitar solo of "Catch All the Fish." Like some scene in an old movie, he
ascended to the top of the stage to finesse the final passionate solo of “Waitin’ on a
Woman” while silhouetted against the giant video screen. And he and his band zipped
through a rip-roaring instrumental while an animated comic-book-style yarn of
Paisley’s own creation unfolded onscreen, with the superstar becoming a superhero
dedicated to saving other country celebs from super-villainous attacks.
When the audience demanded an encore with insistent shouts and stamping feet,
Paisley and Co. quickly obliged, with a laser-light show heralding his latest hit,
“Welcome to the Future.” They closed the show appropriately enough with the cheeky
cautionary tale “Alcohol,” featuring funny doctored photos of his opening acts.
Texas-born and bred singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert, who now lives in
Tishomingo, showed both her sweet and fiery sides in her nearly hour-long set, opening
up with the sharp-tongued humor of “Only Prettier” and then stomping through her
high-octane revenge fantasy “Kerosene.”
“I’m from Texas. We lost, we lost, hush,” she said, answering the crowd’s boos with a
reference to Texas’ Thursday night loss to Alabama in the NCAA football championship.
“But I did fall in love with an Okie.”
Though she dedicated “Famous in a Small Town” to her beau, fellow country star and
her Tishomingo neighbor Blake Shelton, she playfully claimed to she moved to
Oklahoma to escape the East Texas “Dry Town” where she grew up. Whether fervently
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crooning her ballads “More Like Her,” “Dead Flowers” and “The House That Built Me”
or belting out blistering tales of retribution like “Sin for a Sin,” “White Liar” and
Gunpowder & Lead,” Lambert again proved she is one of modern country’s most
formidable talents.
Newcomer Justin Moore opened the concert with his bawdy country-rocker “Back That
Thing Up” and kept his 20-minute set spirited with several songs from his 2009 selftitled
debut album. He garnered big cheers for his No. 1 hit “Small Town USA,” but the
Arkansas native has much to learn before he can approach Paisley-like levels of
charisma and stage presence.

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