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Live in Concert in Kearney, NE - 11/6/2009
by Janelle Landauer

Jason Aldean’s headlining tour, Wide Open, debuted earlier this year – and it came right at the same time that his career was exploding.  Over the last few years, Aldean has been consistently attracting more fans: song by song and show by show.   With Aldean's latest album, Wide Open (his 3rd project to date), he proves, though, that the fans are really starting to take notice of all of his hard work.  Wide Open debuted at #2 on the country charts when it was released back in April, and it has produced two straight #1 hits: "She's Country" along with the 4 week #1 smash "Big Green Tractor."

Aldean opened his show with the title track “Wide Open,” followed by another cut from his new album, called “Crazy Town.”   Fans started to go crazy as Aldean gave the intro to his next song mentioning a town that’s not that far away from here, but similar to where this show took place.  “Hicktown” was the initial thought, since this show was in Nebraska after all, but the song was actually Aldean’s hit single “Amarillo Sky.”  Aldean continued on with the hits, performing his first #1 hit single “Why,” and then he changed it up a bit covering Tom Petty’s song “I Won’t Back Down.”  Aldean and his band nailed this performance and you could tell that the fans were starting to get fired up anxiously awaiting for the start of his next song.

As an introduction to his next song, Jason started talking about John Deere tractors and how this song was the perfect love song for all of the true country boys and girls out there.  The guitar intro for “Big Green Tractor” played – and the crowd erupted.  This single has been Aldean’s best radio release to date, and this song should definitely be Grammy worthy.  “Big Green Tractor” was and will forever be a career-defining release for Aldean.  Next, Aldean mixed in the relatively unknown song “I Break Everything I Touch” before performing his new single “The Truth.”  This song sounds great on the radio and even better live, so it should be another huge hit for him.

Aldean asked the crowd something along the lines of: “Do we have any Johnny Cash fans here tonight?”  The crowd goes wild – knowing that his single, “Johnny Cash” is up next.  This is the true Jason Aldean music that the fans have come to love.  The slower songs are good, but the fans go to the shows to hear the country rock songs that he’s known for.

Aldean performed his hit single “Relentless” and then the band went backstage and took a break during the next song, “Asphalt Cowboy.”  “Asphalt Cowboy” was never released to radio, but it could have been a big hit.  The band came back out to join Aldean on “Laughed Until We Cried,” and “I Use What I Got” and then it was time for the fan favorites “She’s Country” and “Hicktown” back-to-back.  Every person in the sold-out crowd in Kearney was on their feet – singing, dancing and just having a good time.

After “Hicktown,” Aldean and his band stepped off the stage for a second before coming back out for their encore.  Aldean told the crowd about his “CMT Crossroads” experience with Bryan Adams as he set up to play an acoustic version of Bryan’s hit song, “Heaven.”  Aldean, accompanied by his guitarist Kurt Allison and his bassist Tully Kennedy make their version sound just as good as the original.  The audience sang along to every word on this song, just as they had done all night.  Aldean closed the night off with another one of Bryan Adams’ song – “Summer of ’69.”  This cover song was again well received by all of the country fans.

Aldean’s band pulls this entire show together.  Rich Redmond, Tully Kennedy, Kurt Allison and Mike Frey are truly in a league of their own.  If it seems like Aldean's band has been playing together for years – it's actually because most of them have been.  Rich along with Tully and Kurt used to be in the country group Rushlow, prior to all three of them joining Aldean’s road band.  Talk about a solid group of musicians!

Rich Redmond also plays a drum solo during Aldean's live shows and it is definitely one of the highlights from the night.  There are not many live shows where the band gets to be so involved, but, it’s really a great addition to Aldean’s show.  Plus, the fans really seem to appreciate this added bonus!

Jason Aldean is a crowd pleaser… he’s an entertainer and he should already be getting nods for Entertainer of the Year at all of the award shows.  Country music fans know that Aldean is more country rock and that’s where he’s had a lot of his success so far.  That country rock edge that Aldean brings to the stage explains why his shows are as good as they are –– because he’s there to rock.  And, if he’s there to rock out and have a good time… so are all of his fans!
Added: November 2009
Jason Aldean and his bandJason Aldean's drummer, Rich Redmond
• Jason Aldean's set list
• Love & Theft concert review (coming soon!)