On the two-hour post-show WGAR Jason Aldean/Luke Bryan fest last night, the station played a short clip of a Aldean interview where he explained that he patterned his concert philosophy after Kenny Chesney. Chesney, of course, is a stadium vet, a huge name who packs 'em in with his pals. As traffic snarled — and snarled, and snarled, and snarled — around the interminable twists and turns of the Blossom parking labyrinth, a place so singularly agonizing it makes one wonder if any show is worth traveling down I-77 for, you couldn't help but feel that this one was, and that Aldean's Chesney-trajectory is working out just fine.
This was Aldean's second sold-out show in Blossom in less than a year, and easy to see why. The young Georgia native is one of Country's youngest stars, with a bucket of award nominations, wins, and No. 1 hits under his belt, along with the crossover score, "Don't You Wanna Stay," with Kelly Clarkson.
After launching into well-known crowd singalong favorites like "Big Green Tractor," and "Amarillo Sky," Aldean pleaded with the slightly soggy, pretty drunk, all-present and excited crowd to drink as much as they wanted and party hard tonight. Where are my Cleveland girls at? Do they like cowboys? Good. (No query as to where the Cleveland guys were at and whether they too liked cowboys. Probably not the right venue for that.)
With just a few moments of chitter chatter between songs — once to remind folks that his new album Night Train comes out on October 16 and hey, could we play a few new ones for you — Aldean ran briskly through an hour-plus set that featured all the notable grabs dating back to his 2005 debut album, each drawing an arms-raised and swinging and body-swaying response from the thousands staring back at him. From "My Kinda Party," to "Tattoos on This Town," from "Flyover States," to "Why?", there wasn't a minute, including the two new songs — one of which, the title track "Night Train," has been on regular radio rotation for weeks now — that didn't have the crowd riveted and partying. Just like he asked them to.