Rascal Flatts packs the BOK
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Friday, July 23, 2010
7/23/10 at 11:37 PM
A burst of fireworks roused fans like an adrenaline shot Friday night as Rascal Flatts welcomed Friday’s near-capacity crowd to Tulsa’s BOK Center.
Indeed, 10 is a magic number for bassist Jay DeMarcus, singer Gary LeVox and Picher native and guitarist Joe Don Rooney. The pop-country band recently kicked off its “Nothing Like This” tour, named for its 10th anniversary album, which is set for release in October.
Grace and poise dominated the agile and expanded setlist, which rolled on for nearly two hours. Even by Rascal Flatts standards, this production was playfully bombastic and impressively gargantuan, including multiple moving movie screen-size video panels, strobe lights, oil derrick-shaped props, confetti cannons, explosions and pyrotechnic displays.
The trio romped through a decade of hits, new and old, including “Bob That Head,” “Praying for Daylight,” “This Everyday Love,” “I’m Movin’ On,” “These Days,” “Mayberry,” “Feels Like Today,” “Fast Cars and Freedom,” “Here’s to You,” “Bless the Broken Road,” “Backwards,” “What Hurts the Most,” “My Way,” “Me and My Gang,” “Take Me There,” “Here Comes Goodbye,” “Unstoppable” and “Life is a Highway.”
The energetic trio ran across the stage, leaned into the crowd and high-fived fans, shook hands, signed autographs and even grabbed cameras and took pictures throughout the set.
“It’s good to be home in Tulsa,” said LeVox. Okie native Rooney agreed. During the set, Rooney paused and thanked his fans. “We can’t thank you enough for everything you’ve done for us. … We’ll be ’round here just as long as you’ll have us,” he said.
Soon after, he nimbly noodled out a guitar solo rendition of the “Star Spangled Banner.”
Their gratitude was palpable and sincere. “Oklahoma is the greatest state we’ve ever been blessed enough to play in,” said LeVox.
The five piece backing band included a team that mastered a steel guitar, drums, banjo, mandolin, fiddle, keyboards and acoustic guitar.
This tour has been widely publicized and sponsored by mall retailer JC Penney. The band admitted that it’s indeed decked out in bedazzled Penney’s duds. Jeans and tees and plaid button-downs were the rule of the evening — working man’s fare, with a nod to rocker style.
Chris Young played a solid — if too short — opening set that included “Voices,” “That Makes Me” and “The Man I Want to Be.”
“Oh, man! How y’all doin’?” he asked in a baritone drawl, his black cowboy hat shading his eyes from the glare of the spotlight.
The answer from the crowd set the tone for the entire night. The answer was a resounding “Great!”
“American Idol” finalist Kellie Pickler also helped warm up the near-capacity crowd on Friday. A blonde bombshell in rhinestone-encrusted stilettos and a curve-hugging dress, she was confident and poised throughout and performed songs including “The Best Days of Your Life” and “Rocks Instead of Rice.”
But technical glitches plagued her set — she bent her arm awkwardly behind her back for a good portion of her performance while she fiddled with the sound levels in her earpiece. The backing keyboards drowned out her tender-voiced banter.
Her goosebump-rising version of Dolly Parton’s “Jolene” and “Two Doors Down” more than made up for any glitches.
BOK Center See a calendar of upcoming events at the arena, view photos from performances and more.
Picher native Joe Don Rooney (left) performs with fellow Rascal Flatts bandmates Jay Demarcus and Gary LeVox at Tulsa's BOK Center on Friday night. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World
Joe Don Rooney (left) performs with Gary LeVox (center) and Jay Demarcus at the BOK Center. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World