The good ol’ boys were out in mass last night in our fair city. Tim McGraw drew quite the crowd to a near sold out show last night. His good time country pop songs, had the stadium all revved. With a larger than life stage setup that rivals most other pop artists, it was truly a captivating experience.
From the moment you set through the glass doors into General Motors Place, you new you were at a country show. The cow boy hats and tight denim were spread out as far as the eye could see. The beer stands were busier than any other show; even than any metal show. One thing you can take away from the country styled folk; they come to party, and they party hard. Within the first 10 minutes of being under the dome, several people were ejected due to alcohol consumption. The security made it quite clear this was a no toleration affair.
[singlepic id=1147 w=320 h=240 float=left]Scattered among the expected attendees were the silver mains of experience. A rarity to such a large show, many of the patrons were quite a bit older. It was almost refreshing to see such a mixed turn out. The variation in the speckle of faces shows you the range of appeal this kind of show has. Unlike the younger audiences that other styles of popular music draw out.
The stage setup was way over the top. The main stage had a catwalk that went out about 150 feet down the center of the audience. The entire back drop to the stage was alive with the quick movement of motorized lights. Arching up from either side of the stage like the giant wings of an eagle were two additional rigs. Each one was lined with a plethora of even more motorized lights. As the concert started the lights darted around the stage, bringing a visual explosion to accompany every song.
As the lights dimmed, the stadium roared with the screams of the eager. Phil Colin’s song In The Air Tonight was blasted through the speakers. Without hesitation the people began to sing along to every word. It was almost eerie how seamlessly it all took place. After the song completed, a light illuminated a giant white sheet that was disguising the stage. The shadow of a man in a cow boy hat rose 40 feet in the air onto the giant sheet. Suddenly the sheet dropped and before the horde was Tim McGraw, back lit by an intense white light. Surrounding him was his large supporting band; fiddles and guitars all over the stage.[singlepic id=1150 w=320 h=240 float=right]
The energy of the fans was immense. Unlike most shows you go to, there were few people in attendance who didn’t know the words to every song. As each piece in the set played out, the stadium chanted along; it was awe inspiring. The set list was a common place setup, nothing original or note worthy, just a line up of good songs.
The female portion was enthralled with everything this country boy did. As he strut along the stage like a tiger on the prowl, he reached down and grasped the hands of as many fans as he could. With a grin from ear to ear, it was easy to see that this good ol’ boy loves every minute of his profession. The vocals were not great, but were solid through out the night. The instruments were average, but just like the vocals were definitely constantly decent throughout the show. Nothing about the musical side of this night was overly impressive or under delivered; it was just an average good evening out.
Overall Tim McGraw can draw the crowds and will sell shows like this for the next 20 years. He definitely has a varied audience, a country pop sound that can be identified by many generations. The experience of being out in a group of country lovers is a feeling of fitting in. No matter if you are a veteran at the show, or a new comer, all are welcome and share in all aspects of the evening. Tim McGraw shows you a good evening, but once you check the ticket price you may change your mind. Some tickets sell for more than $100 a piece, making this night a little unattainable for the average honky tonk.
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Photographs by Jamie Taylor