By Amy Dolkas
Chula Vista is a town just east of San Diego, California and is
home to a venue called the Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre. It
was there that I saw Brad Paisley, the Band Perry, and Scotty
McCreery this past Thursday night. The fan packed concert
enjoyed a late summer’s open-air evening party. And for a period
of time, it was Nashville, Tennessee and it seemed like I was
listening to Willie, Waylon and of course Hank.
Southern California has its share of high class and haughty
stereotypes, but the roaring crowd of Thursday night’s show
served as a reminder of the down home, humble nature that rings
true in people all over this country. Country music and its’ fans
embrace a work hard- play hard lifestyle that cultivates a simple
and refreshing approach to life. The show was more than just a
night of enjoyable music and talented artists-though it was all of
that- it was a testament to the admirable, goodhearted mentality of
folks that support this special kind of music. Fans of country music
represent a select group of people that hold certain values close to
their heart. Some of which are a love for their fellow man, land and
their country as well as a respect for tradition, honor for bravery,
and the integrity and honesty of hard work.
Scotty McCreery opened the show and with his notable voice
and stage charm, proved he would be around in the future of
country music. The Band Perry followed with a vivacious set of
pop and folk influenced songs. Kimberly Perry, the older sister
in the sibling-comprised band, sparked the crowd with a flashing
smile and a fiery stage presence. Her theatrical interactions with
the crowd left her a bit breathless at times but were successful in
getting the crowd onto their feet and singing along. She even had
the crowd sing the first solid minute of their huge hit “If I Die
Next, Brad Paisley took the stage and proved his consistency and
talent that has marked him as the star he is. His set comprised of
scores of his huge radio hits that most people would recognize,
even if they weren’t devoted country music fans.
He brought out several members of the United States Navy and
the crowd honored them as Paisley played his hit “This Is Country
Music”. Paisley himself paid tribute to the people sitting in the
nosebleed section of the amphitheatre by playing several songs
from the middle of the crowd halfway up the seats, and sharing
that he was “never any closer than you, so I thought I’d better
play here too”. He further befriended fans when he grabbed a
crowd member’s phone and took a video of himself and the
audience singing the last chorus of “I’m Still a Guy”. He brought
his opening acts back on stage to sing some songs with him, and
the beautiful Kimberly Perry lent her voice to the female vocals
of “Whiskey Lullaby”.
Country music concerts bring people together in a special way and
always seem to make for a fun, rowdy party, and Paisley certainly
verified himself to be a worthy entertainer of such a party.
I’m not a songwriter, but if I were, the words to my first song
would be, “I’ve never been to the south, except when you take me
there”. And these artists certainly took us there Thursday night.
The south has become more than just a region of the country. The
southern mentality possesses common threads of humanity, for it
resonates deep in the hearts of countless people. I guess there is a
little bit of the south and country music in all of us. I don’t know
how they keep pulling more and more of it out of me, I didn’t even
know that much was in there. But, it sure feels good.