It’s hard not to think about the recent Nashville flood when you see the Water World set-up at Brad Paisley’s H20 Tour, but when you see him rising from the water as he opens his show, it’s not sadness or mourning, but joy and the spirit of that community rising above that takes over.
With the exception of a few missing video screens and a little microphone trouble during the opening song (both of which could have been the result of something non-flood related), you would have never known the entire set was under water less than three weeks ago.
Brad credits his team to getting everything cleaned-up and ready for the tour, which started this past weekend with stops in Virginia Beach and Bristow, Virginia (just outside Washington, DC). He tweeted his thanks to the crew before the Virginia Beach show: “These are the people that made this happen tonight. I broke down trying to thank them today. They are the best.” (See the photo at http://twitpic.com/1ptw8c)
Night two of the tour in Bristow show took the water theme a bit too seriously and was soaked from open to close, but the fans weren’t bothered at all, singing in the rain and dancing in the mud. Why? Because Brad Paisley sure knows how to throw a pool party!
First, invite the coolest people – in this case, Justin Moore and Darius Rucker for your main stage openers; and Steel Magnolia, Josh Thompson and Easton Corbin for the side stage. Next, add some great music, provided by his friends and himself, of course. Then add lots of water and you have the H20 Tour. I highly recommend you dive in.
Even if you saw Brad on last summer’s American Saturday Night Tour, you’ll enjoy this new version. He performs the hits and lots of material from his current CD, but the songs just don’t get old. Whether the humorous “Online” and “I’m Still a Guy”; the romantic “Waiting on a Woman” and “Then”; or the feel-good anthem “Welcome to the Future,” Brad knows how to deliver a great song.
He does pull our few songs missed on the last tour, including the tear-jerker “Whiskey Lullaby,” which he sings with Allison Krause despite her not actually being there – I think. (You have to see it to understand my confusion.)
You know all the songs by heart and sing along. Add Brad’s fun stage presence, friendly banter and some hysterical home movies, and you really feel like you’re a welcomed guest at his party. (If only the beer and hot dogs were free, it would be a perfect evening!)
Like any good host, Brad made sure everyone was having a good time. So guitar in hand, he went through the audience in the covered pavilion, then kept going, to get close to the loyal and rain-soaked fans on the amphitheater’s lawn. (See http://twitpic.com/1q7b97)
He performed the so-appropriate “Mud on the Tires” and two other songs on a small platform at the back edge of the pavilion, to the delight of fans who expected the best view they’d get of him was on the theater’s giant video screens. I’ve been going to shows at this venue for more than a decade and have never seen any artist do that before. Way to go, Brad!
By the time he finishes off the evening with an encore performance of “Alcohol,” you can’t wait to tell your friends about the great party you went to.
Brad takes his H20 Tour to Kansas City and St. Louis next weekend, May 28 and 29, with more shows across the country throughout the summer. If you get a chance, take a swim!
Brad Paisley’s H20 Tour is raising money the for Water=Hope Campaign. Text H2O to 25383 to give $10 from your mobile phone.
See also "Side Stage Acts Whet Your Appetite on Brad Paisley’s H20 Tour"