We’re just days away from Super Bowl LIII. Our New England Patriots will be facing the Los Angeles Rams at the Mercedes Benz Stadium in Atlanta, Georgia on this coming Sunday evening. While I’ll be watching for the game, many others tune in for the commercials and many others tune in for the halftime concert. And this year will be no different. But the NFL had the chance to do something they hadn’t done before for a Super Bowl halftime show- country music.
There are very few NFL stadiums in the heart of American where country music lies supreme. Obviously, Nashville is number one. But behind Music City, Atlanta probably is next in line to be home to an NFL franchise AND have thick roots in country music. And Nashville will probably never host a Super Bowl. No offense to Maroon 5, Big Boi or Travis Scott, but c’mon NFL, pay homage to country music for once. Atlanta was the perfect Super Bowl host to do it- unless you decide to play with Mother Nature again and grant Nashville a Super Bowl- which is unlikely.
And who could the NFL have tapped from country to put on one helluva Super Bowl… Well, we’ve been lobbying for Kenny Chesney to play the Pepsi Halftime Show for years. He is one of the few artists of any genre who can headline and sell out NFL stadiums across the country every summer. And let’s face it, he may already have plans to be in the building as he has strong ties with Robert Kraft and the Patriots organization. He was seen in Mr. Kraft’s suite in past Super Bowls.
But there’s also a plethora of Georgia born and bred country artists that would put on a great show. Alan Jackson and Travis Tritt are two icons that come to mind. And we know the argument will be that traditional country would struggle on national television because a lot of people don’t like country. But guess, what!? A LOT OF PEOPLE DO LIKE COUNTRY.
And if that is the argument, we can all be real here. Country music as played on country radio today definitely straddles the genre lines with influences and sounds of pop, rock and hip hop. So why not take modern country artists who flirt with other genres!? Again, the list artists from Georgia who are ruling in the modern country world but can appease the masses is pretty long. Artists like Cole Swindell, Sam Hunt, Thomas Rhett, Brantley Gilbert, Kane Brown, Kip Moore, Jason Aldean and Luke Bryan, to name a few. Hell, throw Florida GEORGIA Line out there with Bebe Rexha to perform their 2018 smash hit, ‘Meant To Be.’ Give us SOME country music.
The last time that the NFL had a halftime show that exclusively featured country artists, it was 1994. Yes, 25 years ago. Seems like long enough. That show featured Travis Tritt, Tanya Tucker, Clink Black and The Judds. And only fittingly, that Super Bowl was also in Atlanta! So 25 years later, we’re back in Atlanta for a Super Bowl…
Nearly every year, the NFL has pop stars playing the halftime show. Let’s change it up. If there was any Super Bowl to feature some of country’s biggest stars, it was this weekend. Here we are 25 years later, we’re back in Atlanta for a Super Bowl. What better year could it have been to have had a country halftime show.
The truth is… the NFL dropped the ball here. Pun intended.
Summer 2018 officially started on Saturday May 26th with the first country concert of the season at the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, MA. Jason Aldean kicked it all off off with his High Noon Neon Tour, featuring openers Lauren Alaina and Luke Combs. The energetic DeeJay Silver kept the tunes pumping in between sets. It was a beautifully warm night, just perfect for the outdoor venue.
The crowd gathered early and waited with beer in hand for the show to begin. As the sun began to fade, the heat of the day was replaced with a soft, cool breeze. Promptly at 7:35, Lauren Alaina took the stage and belted out an oldie but goodie, ‘Georgia Peaches.’ It was released back in October of 2011 as the second single from her debut album ‘Wildflower.’ She really got the crowd going as she rocked out, flipping her hair back and forth, to her second song of the night, a cover of the Guns N Roses classic, ‘Paradise City.’ Now that the crowd was warmed up, she invited a special guest to join her on stage and dance with her to ‘Next Boyfriend.’ She asked the audience: “So who wants to see what he’s got?” The special guest and showed off some stellar moves up there, including the whip/nae nae! It was a fun performance! Alaina next asked the audience: “Who has a crazy family?” She described her own family situation, mentioning how her dad was a heavy drinker and this past October 6th was his 5th year anniversary of being sober. She really made herself vulnerable and talked about her parents divorce. This all led up to her performing her hit, ‘Doing Fine.’ She was really engaged with the audience during this song, reaching out to shake hands and even giving a few far reaching hugs! After physically connecting with people in the pit, Alaina went on to talk about the travelling that she’s been doing for the last seven years. “I missed my nephew’s birthday parties, I missed going to church on Sundays. There was a time that I thought this wasn’t going to happen.” She proudly introduced her next song ‘Three.’ Showcasing her talents as a true musician, Alaina played the piano for the beginning portion. Though Kane Brown, her middle school chorus classmate, wasn’t there to join in, she played their hit song ‘What Ifs.’ After, she thanked the audience for their support over the years, then mentioned that “I got second place on American Idol back when I was only fifteen years old,” and spoke about “how people are not always nice.” “I had an eating disorder for six years.” It was during this time in her life that she wrote ‘Road Less Traveled’ and she decided to conclude her portion of the show with this one. But just before it began, she said “A little girl’s daddy wrote me a note asking if his daughter can come up on stage with me. I don’t normally do this…” She then invited an adorable young guest out with her to conclude the set. The crowd had their cellphone flashlights on, swaying to the music. Lauren Alaina really engaged the crowd and we were all ready for Luke Combs to take the stage!
During the set change, Dee Jay Silver kept the crowd up on their feet with country jams like Sam Hunt’s ‘Body Like a Back Road’ and Luke Bryan’s ‘Country Girl’ mixed with other classic and contemporary pop hits.
Luke Combs walked out on the stage with an iconic red solo cup in hand. He asked the crowd: “How you guys doin’ on this Memorial Day weekend?” And opened his set with ‘Beer Never Broke My Heart.’ He geared up for song number two by saying: “I started this seven years ago. I never imagined I’d be opening for Jason Aldean. This is one of the first songs I wrote back in North Carolina.” – ‘She Got The Best of Me.’ He then played ‘Don’t Tempt Me With a Good Time.’ Offering a little advice, Combs said: “You only got one shot. If you want to do something, Do it! A lot of people told me I have to grow up and get a real job.” Introducing his next song, Combs explained: “We’ve been on the road for four years. That’s how I came up with the idea for this next song.” – ‘Honky Tonk Highway.’ He ended this tune with a bit of ‘Boot Scootin’ Boogie,’ a real crowd pleaser. Addressing the audience once again, Combs questioned: “How many of you have broken up with somebody and it ended up being the best thing that ever happened to you? Me too! That’s what this next song is about.” He played his hit ‘When It Rains It Pours’ and the crowd loved every moment! Singing, dancing, and drinking it all up! The electric guitarist jammed along with his American flag/red, white, and blue painted guitar! He continued with ‘Beautiful Crazy.’ Then mentioned: “North Carolina is my home state. Anybody here in Mansfield know anything about country music?” He then played a classic country medley of ‘Take it Easy/Should’ve Been a Cowboy/Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow.’ Combs also performed, ‘One Number Away,’ the third single from his debut studio album, ‘This One’s for You.’ With his signature black Gibson in hand, he rocked out to ‘Can I Get an Outlaw.’ Addressing the audience one last time, Combs said: “I have one more song for you guys. This is the song that changed my life.” Then he sang ‘Hurricane.’ Everyone was singing along. Before the lights went out, he threw his guitar pics into the crowd!
Dee Jay Silver took over again as the stage was being prepped for Jason Aldean. He played foot-tapping, crowd clapping songs such as: Big & Rich’s ‘Save a Horse (Ride a Cowboy),’ Lynyrd Skynyrd’s ‘Sweet Home Alabama,’ Sam Hunt’s ‘House Party,’ Neil Diamond’s ‘Sweet Caroline,’ Journey’s ‘Don’t Stop Believin,’ and Bon Jovi’s ‘Livin’ On A Prayer.’
Next up was the man of the night, Jason Aldean! The lights came on and his opening song was fittingly titled ‘Getting’ Warmed Up.’ Wearing his cowboy hat and ripped jeans, he shook hands with those lucky fans that were in the pit section! Addressing the audience, Aldean said: “Boston!!! Welcome out to The High Noon Neon Tour. Before we do anything else, I’d like y’all to do me a favor and make some noise for some friends of mine – Dee Jay Silver, Lauren Alaina, and Mr. Luke Combs. I don’t think it’s any big secret that we love playing here in Boston. We’ve had a chance to play at Fenway Park four times already. We played Gillette. This is always one of my favorite places to come. You guys are always great to us. Thank you for being here tonight. I don’t know if you guys know this but we had an album come out about a month and a half ago! The way this is gonna work tonight is we’re gonna play songs from my new album and we’re gonna go all the way back to 2005 off our very first album. And pretty much play some songs from all the albums in between. So all I’m saying is it’s gonna be a long night, it’s gonna be a good time – So saddle up!” With the crowd energized, he went right into singing ‘Take a Little Ride’ and ‘They Don’t Know.’ Cooling things down a little bit, he sang ‘A Little More Summertime.’ The gigantic screen in the background above Aldean aired a slideshow of summer: pictures of people at the beach, surfing, enjoying the warmth. Continuing with the slower songs, Aldean played ‘Any Ol Barstool.’ He said: “Alright Boston, Put your hands together!” The crowd was pumped to hear his classic hits ‘Crazy Town,’ ‘Tattoos on this Town,’ ‘Night Train,’ ‘Amarillo Sky,’ and ‘The Truth.’ He went on to say: “It just so happens that we had a brand new single come out to country radio a couple weeks ago. And we recorded the album and I reached out to a friend of mine by the name of Miranda Lambert to come in and sing with us. You guys ain’t gonna believe this!!! Guess What? She is not here tonight, sorry! My bad!” As the crowd roared with laughter and maybe a tad bit of disappointment, he sang his latest single ‘Drown The Whiskey.’
Slowing things down again he played the classic ‘Fly Over States.’ Then cranked things up with ‘Lights Come On.’ He next said: “This is one of my favorite songs from my new album and title track,” and played ‘Rearview Town.’ The crowd put their hands together to ‘When She Says Baby.’ Aldean toasted the crowd by saying: “Well we’re kinda celebrating a little bit tonight. And I know people in Boston like to drink and I hate to see people drinking alone so what I’m saying is that I’m about to start drinking with you guys if that’s alright. I do want to say a toast to you guys- First of all thank you so much Boston for always welcoming this kid from Georgia to come up here and play for you guys! Number two, this year we just had a big song on country radio thanks to you guys this thing spent two weeks at number one. And I’m pretty sure it’s become the wedding song of the year. People getting married to this thing, people making babies to this thing. There are gonna be some babies made tonight when you guys get home form the show. All I gotta say to that is you’re welcome! But seriously, here’s to you Boston, we love you. Thank you for having us!” Then he played his hit ‘You make it Easy.’ After saying: “I had a feeling you guys came here to party tonight,” Aldean kept the party going strong by playing “The Only Way I Know,’ ‘Dirt Road Anthem’, ‘Big Green Tractor,’ ‘My Kinda Party,’ and ‘She’s Country.’ He ended the night with ‘Burning it Down’ and ‘Hick Town.’ The energy level was through the roof and the crowd just didn’t want the show to end! It was an epic performance! Memorial Day weekend was off to a great start for the concertgoers. This show certainly set the bar high for the country concert season. Cheers to summer 2018!
The weather is finally warming up here in New England and all we can think about at NECM are the amazing shows coming our way this summer. There are twelve concerts with country performers heading to our big outdoor venues, The XFINITY Center in Mansfield, MA, and the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, CT. This year the lineups are as stacked as ever with concerts featuring some of the biggest names in Country Music. Whether you have PIT tickets or like to kick it on the lawn you won’t want to miss these shows!
Jason Aldean: High Noon Neon Tour Lineup: Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, Lauren Alaina, and DeeJay Silver. XFINITY Theatre: Friday May 25th at 8 PM XFINITY Center: Saturday May 26th at 7:30 PM
Rascal Flatts: Back To US Tour Lineup: Rascal Flatts, Dan + Shay, and Carly Pearce XFINITY Theatre: Friday June 8th at 8 PM XFINITY Center: Saturday June 9th at 7:30 PM
Country 92.5 Presents: Sam Hunt at Damon & Cory’s Summer House Party Lineup: Sam Hunt, Kip Moore, and Conner Smith XFINITY Theatre: Friday June 29th at 8 PM
Chris Stapleton: All American Road Show Lineup: Chris Stapleton, Marty Stuart, and Brent Cobb XFINITY Center: Saturday June 30th at 7 PM
Miranda Lambert & Little Big Town: The Bandwagon Tour Lineup: Miranda Lambert, Little Big Town, Turnpike Troubadours, and Tenille Townes XFINITY Theatre: Friday July 20th at 8 PM XFINITY Center: Saturday July 21st at 7 PM – Presented by WKLB
Keith Urban: Graffiti U World Tour Lineup: Keith Urban and Kelsea Ballerini XFINITY Center: Saturday August 4th at 7:30 PM
Brad Paisley: Weekend Warrior World Tour Line up: Brad Paisley and Tyminski XFINITY Center: Saturday August 11th at 7:30 PM
Lady Antebellum & Darius Rucker: Summer Plays on Tour Lineup: Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, and Russell Dickerson XFINITY Theatre: Saturday July 28th at 7 PM XFINITY Center: Saturday September 22nd at 7 PM
Maren Morris: opening for Niall Horan’s: Flicker World Tour Lineup: Niall Horan and Maren Morris XFINITY Theatre: Friday September 24th at 8 PM XFINITY Center: Saturday September 8th at 7 PM
Willie Nelson: Outlaw Music Festival Lineup: Willie Nelson, Sturgill Simpson, Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, Margo Price, Lukas Nelson + Promise of the Real, and Particle Kid. XFINITY Center: Friday September 21st at 3 PM
Kid Rock + Brantley Gilbert: Red Blooded RocknRoll Redneck Extravaganza Lineup: Kid Rock, Brantley Gilbert, and Wheeler Walker Jr. XFINITY Center: Saturday September 29th at 6:30 PM
Zac Brown Band: Down The Rabbit Hole Live! Lineup: Zac Brown Band XFINITY Theatre: Sunday September 30th at 7 PM
Be prepared on show day. Plan ahead and arrive early to allow for time to park, enter the venue, and to purchase food or drinks. For more information about the venues’ policies, procedures, and show day information you can visit the XFINITY Theatre and XFINITY Center websites.
‘Gettin’ Warmed Up’ is the third single that Jason Aldean has released from his upcoming album, ‘Rearview Town.‘ The rest of the album is set to be released on April 13th. With the recent release of singles ‘Rearview Town’ and ‘You Make it Easy,’ two slower and more sentimental songs, it was only a matter of time before Jason revealed something from this album that will get fans pumped up. ‘Gettin’ Warmed Up’ is exactly that. It is the perfect song for a pregame, tailgate, or drive to a party.
The opening rock instrumental of this song hits hard; with electrifying guitar and pounding drums, it does not let up. The song’s high energy is infectious. ‘Gettin’ Warmed Up’ presents not only a cross between country and rock, but also includes some rap for a mix that only Jason Aldean can pull off. Yes, you did read that correctly, country, rock, and rap. Jason Aldean is back to rapping in this song, similar to what he put forth in his previous hit, ‘Dirt Road Anthem.’ The country superstar raps a single verse; Gettin’ warmed up and gettin’ started, Everybody in here came to party, You need a good time, well I brought it, Hands up in the air if you want it, Yeah the speakers are here and they turned up, Cups filling, we mixed up the good stuff, Who’s setting it off, you know that’s us, Y’already know we gettin’ warmed up.
‘Gettin’ Warmed Up’ paints a simple picture of a fun night of partying that just does not stop. The lyrics, We showed up here when the sun went down, Hit it hard, kicked it off right, You think by now we’d be heading out, Hanging it up and calling it a night, But we’re just getting warmed up, open the song. Whether played as an opener or a mid-set song, ‘Gettin’ Warmed Up’ is sure to get the crowd going during a show. With buzz words like fired up and hands up in the air included throughout the song,it would seem that songwriters Josh Mirenda, Jaron Boyer, and Cole Taylor perfectly crafted the song for a Jason Aldean concert. Perhaps the single seems to fit so well into Jason’s repertoire because of the similarities it has with his previous hit ‘Just Gettin’ Started;’ even the titles are very similar. ‘Gettin Warmed Up’ also features the lyrics just gettin’ started in its chorus. The similarities of the songs go deeper, with both having themes about having a great time. It is intuitive to picture Aldean performing with some pyrotechnics bursting in the background while fans go wild for this song. It would not be a surprise to see the catchy single become a summer party anthem.
You have options if you are looking to catch Jason Aldean on his upcoming High Noon Neon tour with Luke Combs and Lauren Alaina. He will be performing in New England on May 25th at the XFINITY Theatre in Hartford, CT; May 26th at the XFINITY Center in Mansfield, MA; and May 27th at Darling’s Waterfront Pavillion in Bangor, ME.
Favorite Lyrics:Another double shot of crazy in cup…
The 2018 MLB season has arrived and the season opener for the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park will be today, Thursday, April 5th, but baseball isn’t the only thing that is played at the oldest major league ballpark in the nation. Country music has made its mark in Boston in recent years and what other way to spread the love of country music but to have a concert at the ball park.
Here are some of the country artists that have had the opportunity to perform for their fans at Fenway Park.
In July 2013 Jason Aldean made history by being the first country music star to play a concert at Fenway Park. Due to the selling out of his first night, of the 2013 Night Train Tour (with Miranda Lambert, Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett) in just seven minutes, a second show was added. Aldean followed up his 2013 appearance at the iconic ball park with another concert in September of 2016 when he performed for another two nights on his The Six String Circus Tour (with Kid Rock, Thomas Rhett and A Thousand Horses). “We’ve had this show circled on our calendar for quite a while,” said Aldean to cheers, “and I know you Bostonian’s have been drinking Sam Adams all day to get ready for this.” Jason was joined by Kid Rock for his 2016 show.
Photo Credit: Chris and Todd Owyoung
Zac Brown Band
Of all the country acts that have had the pleasure of playing at Fenway, the Zac Brown Band wins for the most appearances. In June 2014 The Zac Brown Band’s, The Great American Road TripTour played two nights to a sold-out crowd of 70,000 people. ZBB played for over 2 hours and sang 30+ songs. Because their 2014 shows were sold out and so successful ZBB decided to return to Fenway park the following year in August of 2015 for their Jekyll + Hyde tour. They performed for over 100,000 fans during the 3-day event. In August of 2016, ZBB came back to Fenway Park with the, Black Out the Sun Tour, for another two nights of country music. This event made Fenway Park history with the most tickets sold at a single concert, the most tickets sold over two nights of concerts by the same artist and the first band to sell-out seven consecutive shows over three years at the ballpark.
After skipping 2017 the ZBB will return to Fenway park in June 2018 for their Down the Rabbit Hole Live Tour. They will play two nights Friday June 15th and Saturday June 16th.
Florida Georgia Line
Florida Georgia Line headlined the first-ever stadium concert of their career July 7th 2017 at a sold-out show at Boston’s Fenway Park for their Smooth Tour. Joining FGL for their stop in Boston were the Backstreet Boys, Nelly and Chris Lane.
Adding to the list of famous country acts to have the opportunity to play at America’s Favorite Ball Park is four-time Entertainer of the Year Luke Bryan. Bryan and his band are set to rock the historic ballpark on July 6th as part of their What Makes You Country Tour. Joining Bryan will be superstar Sam Hunt, along with the award-winning Jon Pardi and the up-and-coming Morgan Wallen. Bryan had this to say about his stadium tours; “My excitement to play these iconic sports stadiums is truly uncontainable,” said Luke. “Playing my music live is the reason I do what I do and the energy of the FANS is what pushes me year after year to deliver a bigger and better experience. I’m so thankful to be in these venues and cities with some of the brightest names in country music. This lineup fires me up and I can’t wait to get this tour started!”
It’s exciting to see that country musicians are energized about performing at one of America’s oldest and most beloved ballparks and I’m sure there will be more country artists joining the ranks in the years to come.