Posted on 6/19/2012
Thursday Night June 7th 2012 was the opening night of the CMA Music Fest stadium concerts. The original Concert Blast team of Mike Arnold, Brian Hasbrook, and Tom Thompson were on hand for the coverage. We love covering music festivals and the CMA Music Fest is one of the best. On opening night the performers included; Glen Campbell, Miranda Lambert, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Zac Brown Band, and Brad Paisley with his surprise special guest Hank Williams Jr. Enjoy listening to the podcast and reading the blog review.
Written by Mike Arnold
It was good to have the original three Concert Blast co-hosts back together again. The last time we recorded a podcast together was last year’s CMA Music Festival. As we walked in the stadium, you could feel the energy and excitement in the air. The night began with a children’s choir singing the National Anthem as some country performer or special singer(s) do every night to open the evening’s performance.
GMC (Great American Country) host Storme Warren was the host for this first night of entertainment. Storme came out to welcome everyone to the Sold-Out festival and told everyone that ABC will be filming the festival for a TV special called “Country’s Night To Rock”. Then he announced the first performer of the night, Glen Campbell.
As many of us know, Glen Campbell is suffering with Alzheimer’s. When he first came out performing “Gentle On My Mind”, we couldn’t really tell anything was wrong with him. The only clue was that he kept looking down to read the teleprompter. Then the instrumental break came and he began to walk around and couldn’t find his way back to the mic stand. Once they pointed it to him he began to blame the band for not keeping up with him. At the end of the song he asked the band to drop down a key, which sounded horrible. Thank goodness the song ended. To top off the disaster, He told everyone “Thank You, God Bless!” as if it was the last song. Fortunately his daughter directed him between songs. He repeated his goodnight phrase after each song. He can still sing and pick the guitar like a pro, but the memory loss broke our hearts. As the set moved along, he became better acquainted with what was going on. Other hits included, “Galveston”, “By the Time I Get to Phoenix”, “Try A Little Kindness”, “Wichita Lineman”, “Southern Nights”, and the set closure, “Rhinestone Cowboy”, which most of the crowd sang along on the chorus. The crowd in attendance understood his issues and gave him an astounding applause.
After about a 15 minute set change, Miranda Lambert took the stage in style! She was wearing a tight black leather outfit with high-heel boots. She looked better than I’ve seen her look in a couple of years. She yells, “What’s Up Nashville?” as she took the stage walking from one side to the other getting the crowd’s attention… and it worked! The crowd cheered loud during her opening number, “Baggage Claim”. Miranda continued with a new song called, “Fastest Girl In Town”. Miranda thanked the country music fans for allowing this next song that she co-wrote with her husband to go all the way to Number One. She dedicated the song to anyone who lost someone they loved, as they began the beautiful ballad, “Over You”. Next Miranda brought out her other act, Pistol Annies to perform a couple of songs, “Hell On Heels” and a new single, “Takin’ Pills”. After Miranda says that country music fans are the greatest fans in the world. Then she says she will need for the audience to show their redneck side as she talks about the one thing that she will not tolerate is a man beating up on a woman. She said just in case, her father showed her how to use a shotgun. During her story, the band was slowly building up the intro for the last song of her set, “Gunpowder and Lead”.
Jason Aldean took the stage next and the audience erupted as if it was a full fledge rock concert. In fact I would describe Jason as a country singer with a hard rocking band. He took the stage with the crowd pleaser, “Hicktown”. Jason said if was their job to come out and keep the party going and he did as the band went straight into “My Kinda Party”. It seemed as if every person in the stadium knew every word to his songs, but they really began singing, “Big Green Tractor”. Jason announced that he just had his fifth Number One song from his “My Kinda Party” album, as they performed their newest hit, “Fly Over States”. Jason and company went for another sing-along, “Dirt Road Anthem”. The crowd went even louder when the intro of the next next, “She’s Country”. Jason Aldean thanked everyone for being there, told us to have a good time at the CMA Fest, God Blessed them, and then jumped into the photo pit area to slap as many hands as he could as the band was closing the song. This was the loudest and most energized crowd so far… but the night was only half way through.
Lady Antebellum was next to take the stage. As Storme Warren announced them, a long hum of the keyboards became their intro music. Finally the familiar piano notes were played as the crowd became ecstatic. Hillary Scott appeared to sing the first verse of “I Need You Now”. Charles Kelley appeared by the second verse to sing and by the chorus, the remaining band members kicked in and so did the 70,000 in attendance. I’m not a fan of opening with a slow song, but they made this work in their unique style. Charles Kelley yelled, “Welcome to the CMA Festival” and the band continued with the next tune, “Own The Night”. Lady Antebellum continued with “That’s Our Kind of Love”. As the drummer keeps a steady beat to intro the next song, Hillary Scott said they are so excited to be there and hopes everyone is having a great time at the CMA Fest this year, as the band leads into my favorite LA song, “American Honey”. The crowd loved them as usual and sang along with every song.
The Zac Brown Band took the stage with “Keep Me In Mind” and continued straight into Charlie Daniels’ “Devil Went Down To Georgia”. The crowd loved the instrumental solos from the various members, especially when Zac Brown played acoustic guitar with his lightning speed picking. Zac announced a brand new CD will be coming out on July 10th. They played a song from it called “The Wind”. They continued their set with “I Ain’t In No Hurry Today” followed by “Uncaged”, the title track of the new album. Zac thanked the troops for laying their lives on the line so we can be a free country and have concerts. The band began singing “America The Beautiful”. The song was an intro to my favorite (and the crowd’s) ZBB song, “Chicken Fried”. The crowd sang along with the band. What an excellent way to end their set… and the crowd screams for more!
Headliner Brad Paisley came out next to the enthusiastic audience. He took the stage showing us his telecaster lead guitar skills which lead into “Camouflage”. Brad said, “This is for everyone who can’t keep their truck clean!”, as they went into “Mud on the Tires”. With a continuation of the music Brad yells, “Welcome to the weekend everybody!” as they continued his show with my favorite BP song, “American Saturday Night”. Brad took time to address the crowd by asking, “How’s everybody in the cheap seats, ya’ll good? How’s the expensive rich people down front, alright?” He talked to the crowd about how much he loves country music as he continued with “This Is Country Music”. The acoustic guitar he played at the beginning of this song was no longer his. He autographed it and handed it out into the crowd. By the end of the song we got our first surprise guest of the night. Hank Williams Jr. came out on stage. He was there to perform and sing the next song, “I’m Gonna Get Drunk and Play Hank Williams”. Hank Jr walked off the stage after that song to a loud and rowdy crowd. Brad Paisley stayed to perform his closing song of the night, “Alcohol”.
This was a great set of performers for the first night of the CMA Music Fest stadium concerts. Tom’s favorite of the night was Jason Aldean. Brian didn’t have a favorite, but he said he really enjoyed the Zac Brown Band. My personal favorite was Brad Paisley, especially when Hank Jr came out to perform. We all agreed that Hank Jr. should have thrilled the crowd by performing “Family Tradition”, but it seemed he performed longer than he wanted (one song). I’m sure it’s a political country music industry thing. To sum it all up, we loved all the performances, meeting new friends, and seeing our old friends again.
Written by Mike Arnold
Tags: Brad Paisley, Brian Hasbrook, CMA Music Festival 2012, concert blast, concertblast, Glen Campbell, Hank Williams Jr, Jason Aldean, Lady Antebellum, Mike Arnold, Miranda Lambert, reviews, Storme Warren, Thursday, Tom Thompson, Zac Brown Band