The curtain dropped, the crowd rose and the evening erupted. Jason Aldean was in town, at the Comcast Center and – headlining ! You might remember Jason played the Comcast back in 2008 as an opening act on the Tim McGraw tour. But on Sunday night, June 5, 2011 beneath the pavilion of a setting sun and a sea of faces, Jason emerged into an evening of awesome entertainment and surprises.
One of the first surprises to captivate both my eye for detail and my senses was the scent of Nag Champa rollin’ in like the fog. As far as I was concerned, the stage was set.
But not so fast. The stage, I would soon discover, had undergone complete changes from past shows. “I wanted to make sure that it (the stage) looks cool but is also something that we can really use,” Jason shares. Well, Jason indeed incorporated stage changes that began with his opening number and continued to evolve throughout the entire set list. “Why” the lighting turned blue and rippled with effects of water, complimenting the performance of Aldean’s first No. 1 song – “Why”.
The stage then continued to transform and highlight the mood of each song. Lighting twisted, turned, tilted and changed color, artistically enhancing every performance.
And it’s true there’s something for everyone. So, if you weren’t completely immersed in the dance of the lights, perhaps Jason’s ability to flex his kick-ass, southern-country-rock performance all over the new stage design kept you in awe and in tuned. Jason and his band had an architectural jungle gym to play on and around – running side to side and down a short catwalk, engaging more intimately and more frequently with his audience – later climbing ramps to a better view for and of him, and at times performing amidst the backdrop of his own ginormous silhouette as he rocked Boston country.
And speaking of rock, that was no set of bed-of-the-truck, tailgating amps Jason was partying with. “We wanted to have a rock ‘n roll vibe to it,” Aldean admits. “I don’t know how many amps we have up there but it looks like a Metallica show and that’s what we wanted.” And that’s exactly what the fans got – country rock that rocked the stage, the crowd and the entire atmosphere.
And while Jason was justifiably enjoying the evening and his success, he was not alone in his performances. There was no need to ask “Don’t You Wanna Stay” when Kelly Clarkson made her duet appearance to perform with Jason. The effects of filmography brought Kelly to the stage in larger than life 3D fashion singing their No. 1 hit “Don’t You Wanna Stay”. The song ended, Kelly waived goodbye but neither she nor the performance would soon be forgotten. An absolutely outstanding creation, truly a work of art.
Yet Jason didn’t have to work at keeping the crowd engaged. It was a beer-raising, joint-smoking, on-your-feet vocal collaboration all evening, continuing with twists and turns down Aldean’s “Dirt Road Anthem” of southern country rock. He admits, “I love doing things that are different, a little unexpected. I like throwing a curveball in there.” And Aldean threw one helluva curve ball when he introduced a surprise guest, his dear friend Josh Beckett and Beckett’s teammates – the Boston Red Sox. And while the Sox didn’t perform for this hyped-up Boston crowd, they made it clear Aldean was a friend of theirs and they were a friend of country.
But “The Truth”? I was momentarily saddened as Jason departed without having performed my favorite song and his second No. 1 hit. But he re-emerged seconds later with an encore as strong and energetic as the evening en total, rockin’ it – “She’s Country”! and I know he went out of his way to sing that just for me – I just know it !
Okay, maybe not. But there was no denying that not only did Jason pour his heart and soul into his tour, he was “Relentless” at personalizing his performance to this Boston crowd at the Comcast Center. He went out of his way to serve a tailgate of treats seasoned to the palate of his Boston fans.
Well, as you know, all good things must come to an end. But before concluding this kick-ass country concert, with an attitude, an edge and a confidence that shouted thank you for liking what I do, Aldean autographed a beach ball, tossed it into the crowd, cooled off beneath the self-inflicted spray of an exploding can of beer then toasted to an awesome audience, “this is My Kinda Party.”