Jason Aldean Heats Nashville During Burn It Down Tour Stop
The flames that fired from Jason Aldean's stage as he was lifted from behind a dynamic letter "A" to begin his show on Saturday night proved to be a metaphor for everything to come. Even his ballads sizzled during the 90-minute-long set that included cameos from openers Cole Swindell, Tyler Farr and Alabama's Randy Owen.
A sold-out Bridgestone Arena audience rarely used the seats once Aldean emerged singing the first line of "Hicktown," his first-ever radio hit. The show and the tour comes during the Macon, Ga. native's 10th anniversary year on Broken Bow Records. He's built up a catalog of reliable, anthemic country-rockers to lean on, leaving the courtesy cover off his set list, mostly.
Owen's appearance after Aldean and his band performed "Sweet Little Something" — one of three deep cuts from the Old Boots, New Dirt album — was a surprise. The band and the singer are a big influence, and he paid tribute during versions of "Tennessee River" and the tender "My Home's in Alabama." Aldean explained the latter was the first he'd ever learned to play on guitar, and Owen was all smiles as they traded verses.
"Take a Little Ride" pushed the tempo soon after his exit. Then came "Flyover States" and "Two Night Town" before his current single, "Just Gettin' Started." Kelly Clarkson joined Aldean via a pre-recorded video for "Don't You Wanna Stay," while Farr and Swindell came back out to sing "The Only Way I Know" shortly before the encore started.
Aldean closed with "She's Country."
Prior to the show, the star called his band the best in the business, and he may not be far off. His lead guitarist is particularly talented. One doesn't realize what a dream gig playing for Aldean is until you watch Kurt Allison rip riff after riff. Along with drummer Rich Redmond, he turns every song — including more introspective hits like "Amarillo Sky" — into a rock number. Aldean himself doesn't back down. When he emerges onstage, his easy-going nature doesn't come with. At times he carried the energy of a man prepping for a prize fight.
Farr opened, playing for an audience that was still very much filing in. The arena was mostly full for Swindell's set, which included hits like "Hope You Get Lonely Tonight" and "Chillin' It," along with others he's written for Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line. An under-appreciated fourth act may have proven to be most critical; Dee Jay Silver whipped the crowd into a frenzy before each set. By the time the lights dimmed for Aldean, the at-capacity crowed was as hungry and focused as a pack of lions.
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