Monday, May 12, 2008

Alan Jackson

Nothing like a last minute decision. Doc Walker was scheduled to come to town this coming Wednesday. This is the second time they've been scheduled and it's cancelled. It sucks big time but what can you do? Friday night I was at Mom & Dad's after the board meeting and I casually asked Mom if she would be interested in seeing Alan Jackson in concert. She seemed open to the idea. We asked my dad and he flatly refused (the concert scene is SO not his thing) So, Saturday morning before my last shift at the store, I returned my Doc Walker ticket and purchased two for Alan Jackson. That concert was Saturday night! I can safely say that I have NEVER bought tickets to a big event, the day of but I am SO glad I did.

I've been trying to be all fiscally responsible lately. Picking and chosing my concerts (because they are my biggest weakness) and only going to the ones I really wanted to see, or the ones that are cheaper. That's what I learned in Texas. Go for local musicians. You get a great show for half the price. I had talked myself out of seeing Alan because I just went to the Deric Ruttan show and Doc Walker was supposed to be on Wednesday. Plus Alan's opening acts were Johnny Reid (who I'm not a huge fan of) and Miranda Lambert (who opened for Dierks in Everett. I like her but I don't LOVE her. Once would have been enough).

Anyways, we drove in and stopped for a high class meal at Ikea on the way. Hey, it's good food and it's cheap! :) When we arrived at the Pacific Coliseum "The Johnny" (as they like to call him on CMT) was already on stage. We must not have missed too many of his songs because we were able to hear him sing quite a few including "Darlin'" (my personal favourite) and "Thank You". Thank You is a song that I don't particularly like but I have to admit, listening to those lyrics with my mom there beside me, I cried :)

One of the drawbacks of buying tickets at the last minute is that all the good seats are gone. We were WAY up in the nosebleed section but, it wasn't really that bad. I was further away when I saw Kenny at Qwest! I did employ my not-so-wonderful-digital-zoom but I also limited the number of photos I took. Especially during Miranda's set. I only have a couple of her.

It was really interesting to see Miranda again. It's been what, 14 months since I saw her last? Well in that time I can definitely see a progression in her performance. She seems a lot more comfortable on stage and in her skin. Mom and I both thought that she could have dressed better (her outfit was pretty blah) but she looked good. Very subtle make up and I didn't think she did as much head banging as last time. I was comparing concert notes with my co-worker this morning and she said she definitely wasn't impressed with Miranda. I guess I knew what to expect so she didn't bother me that much. She is more of a "rocker" though and I just think she's fun.
She sang all of her singles like "Kerosene", "New Strings", "Famous in a Small Town", "Gunpowder & Lead" and "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend", which she explained was dedicated to bringing attention to domestic abuse.

She also sang my personal favourite "Dry Town", as well as "What About Georgia" and acoustic "Desperation" and a fantastic version of "I Can't Be Bothered" which she introduced as "real country".

This is Mom and I waiting for Alan to come on stage :)
And this is the countdown for the last two minutes.

After I saw George Strait in 2005 I made a mental list of the top five acts that I wanted to see live. George and Dierks topped that list. Next was Brad Paisley, Kenny Chesney and lastly Alan Jackson. I confess though, I hadn't heard great things about his live show so I didn't *really* try to get tickets. I am SO glad that I did though (even if I did leave it to the last minute) and I encourage anyone who is even slightly a fan of his music, to attend a show if you can. He is a VERY "low key" entertainer but he has a way of drawing you in and really engaging the audience. My coworker said it was because he opens the show with pictures from the "Jackson Family Album" so you really feel like you know him. I'm not positive how he does it but he does it well. I think it comes from being Hall of Fame maaterial and in that "superstar" category. He just has "it". I didn't time his set list but it went by fast. He has fine tuned the art of balancing up tempo songs with ballads and giving both their due. The up tempo songs are a blast but the ballads still get the reverence they deserve. He opened with Gone Country and, in no particular order, sang:
- I Don't Even Know Your Name
- Chasin' That Neon Rainbow
- Livin' On Love
- A Woman's Love
- Little Bitty (Mom's favourite)
- Small Town Southern Man
- Love's Got a Hold on You
- Good Time (the new single)
- Like Red on a Rose
- Pop a Top
- It's Five O'clock Somewhere
- Don't Rock the Jukebox
- Remember When
- Drive
- Chatahootche

For most of the songs he had either snippets of the music videos playing, or other images that reflected the themes of the songs. During "Little Bitty" the camera focused in on children in the crowd. It was so sweet.
He closed with "Where I Come From" and they played a montage of "Vancouver Views". They had shots of everything from Science World and Stanley Park to local theatres, eateries, construction workers, army personnel, hockey teams and many images of the flag. He got a huge response and rightly so. It was pretty cool that a "Small Town Southern Man" like Alan could make ME feel patriotic :)

For an encore he sang "Mercury Blues" and then signed probably two dozen cowboy hats and shirts from the stage. His last number was "Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning). The simple image of the candles flickering on the screens was really impactful.

All in all, the concert was amazing. I am so glad I didn't pass up this chance. I asked Mom what she thought (since this was her first major concert) and she said "It was fun. He did a great job. I don't think I'd want to make a habit of going to something like this though." Not making a habit of it was referring more to being around some of the people that make concert experiences NOT as fun. We witnessed a drunken brawl during one set change and we were treated to some nasty cigar smoke. Plus there was the regular issues of people standing up and dancing when the people behind them want to sit. It's par for the course though. I've gotten to the place where I can block it out but yeah, it can be a pain. Anyways, I'm glad we went. I'm glad I could share it with her. Happy Mother's Day Mom!


Karin said...

I love living vicariously through you and your concert experiences! It's been YEARS since I've been to a concert. How long? Ummm...I used to dance to George Strait when he played at the Crystal Chandelier for $1.00! Ack! That shows my age!

Big Alan Jackson fans here! When 'Little Bitty' came out it instantaneously became DD's favorite. She would sit in the back seat, in her car seat and swing her little legs singing, "It's alright to be a little baby" because that's what she thought Alan was singing. Still cracks us up when we hear it.

So glad you were able to attend and that your Mom went with you ~ sounds like a fun evening!

agent713 said...

Well I love living vicariously through you. I just pretend to be a cowgirl, you really ARE one!

Where is the Crystal Chandelier? I think I remember you saying that you saw George way back when. That is SO cool.

Hokie Gal said...

Glad you had fun at the show. I saw him back in 1995 or 1996 and was very disappointed in the show. He was lip-singing to the songs, and it was pretty obvious. That kind of did it for me with him. But I do love "Mercury Blues" - that's one of my favorite songs that he sings.

agent713 said...

Tricia that's a great example of why I wasn't too bent on seeing him live. I've heard too many reports like yours. I guess that's one of the benefits of being so far away. I couldn't tell if he was lipsynching or not. His voice did sound strong and it was very clear and that's what mattered to me.

Karin said...

The Crystal Chandelier is in New Braunfels, Tx...or was, not sure whether it's still around.

Me...a cowgirl...I think not! Just a simple ranch wife who was sitting in front of the computer in her pajamas (shhh...don't tell)not so long ago because we got rained out last night and our works had to be postponed.

Emmy said...

Ooh, fun!

I saw Alan Jackson about 10 years ago and it was great then and I'm sure it's just as good, if not better now.