Brad Paisley brings jam-packed country music to BOK
BY JENNIFER CHANCELLOR World Scene Writer
Friday, August 17, 2012
8/17/12 at 4:41 AM
Brad Paisley is the All-American country music man, suited in dungarees and brandishing a six-string. He's a balanced blend of new- and old-school, of high-tech showmanship and down-home storytelling skill.
His guitar fretwork also sang through his set, sharp, clean and full of character and blending blues, rockabilly, rock, honky-tonk, country, swing and a whole lot of melody.
His Virtual Reality Tour rolled through the BOK Center on Thursday night, and Paisley was greeted with a real-life full house of ecstatic fans. Reeling through tunes that included "Camouflage," "The World" and "Welcome to the Future," he darted on and off catwalks, breaking down barriers between fans.
Multiple large screens flashed sequences of images in quick succession, adding to the energy of his set. Lasers projected a silhouette of Paisley noodling his guitar, it being as much of a star as he is. His humor sparked, too, in a tune about, uh, ticks.
"Country music - it's about reality. But it also has the power to take you away from reality for a night," Paisley explained before launching into "This is County Music."
A soldier walked onto stage during the tune, stood stock still, and saluted as U.S. flags waved on screens behind him. The men in the audience reacted in a manner of respect I don't see often at concerts anymore. The cowboys stood en masse and removed their hats. Some placed them over their hearts; others waved them in the air.
Thank you, boys.
This was Paisley's third BOK Center rodeo in four years, and fans still piled onboard for this wild go-round. He powered through "Waitin' on a Woman" and the tongue-in-cheek tunes "Celebrity" and "I'm Still a Guy."
During "She's Everything," he "borrowed" a starry-eyed woman's cellphone and made a video of him singing to "her," well, to her camera, then flipped the phone around to get the crowd response. The young lady jumped and screamed in disbelief, hammering her friend's arm like "Ohmygodforrealthisisreallyhappening!"
Paisley used one electric guitar to play another electric guitar before moving into "Online," "Then," "Alcohol," Merle Haggard's "Okie From Muskogee," and the duet "Remind Me" with a virtual Carrie Underwood.
Opening act The Band Perry, with siblings Kimberly, Reid and Neil Perry, is also a repeat performer at the arena. They rolled through last year with Reba McEntire.
Separated by three catwalks and a pit full of fans, the handsome clan rolled through quirky and sweet tunes "Sugar Sugar," "Night Gone Wasted," "Hip to My Heart," "Independence," "All Your Life," the stunningly fun and countrified (and oddly girl-empowering) Queen cover of "Fat Bottomed Girls," Kimberly Perry's voice sultry and fun.
She skipped and ran and engaged fans, who stole the first verse of "If I Die Young" right out of her mouth. She got three words in and fans sang every word so loudly that she and her band stopped cold. The fans kept going. It was powerful, and they did it more than once.
No doubt, The Band Perry fully engages its fans. It is a band that is polished and unpredictable, and that's high praise.
Soon, I hope, they'll quit with the bridesmaid business and step into the headliner role full-time. Their talent and popularity certainly warrant it.
Fresh-faced Easton Corbin recently joined this tour, opening with a short set that included his easy voice and southern twang in songs "This Feels a Lot Like Love," "Lovin' You is Fun," "I Can't Love You Back" and "A Little More Country Than That."
Country music tours try to pack in a lot of entertainment for the ticket dollar, but sometimes - sometimes - the wait is frustrating.
Fans can get fatigued (or feel like they've been hard-sold into listening to industry-picked "up-and-comers" that will later, again, be force-fed via country radio) by the time the main attraction steps into the spotlight. Things slow down.
Value is good. As is, to a certain extent, predictability. Especially considering that recently in New York, 91 patrons (that's no typo) were charged for everything from underage drinking to trespassing at a Paisley concert sweep. At another, Paisley's opening act, Scotty McCreery, fell off the stage.
Original Print Headline: Paisley's prowess is real, not virtual
Jennifer Chancellor 918-581-8346
Brad Paisley performs Thursday at the BOK Center in Tulsa. MATT BARNARD/Tulsa World