The Roar of a Crowd on a Friday Night

OK, you know, initially this was going to be another “Hey, it’s weird I like country music now” post. But since I’ve liked country for most of the time I’ve written this blog, and have been listening to it regularly since before I started “Stories,” that’s really probably not that weird to a lot of my readers. Heck, how many of you are left out there that even knew me back then? I should figure out how to do a poll to figure that out.

It is still weird to me, though. Back in August I wrote a post about spiritual implications of Lady Antebellum’s “I Run To You”, and embedded the official video from YouTube. Cool to be able to come back now and do a post with video of them doing the song that I shot on my iPhone. At that point in time, I’d been to a country concert, with Sugarland (awesome) and Billy Currington (totally not my thing at the time, though I now really like “People Are Crazy”). Since then, I’ve seen Ralph Stanley and Sammy Kershaw and Trace Adkins and Sara Evans and Heidi Newfield and probably a few others I’m forgetting, and I’m going to the Opry next week.

Friday, I saw Lady Antebellum and Tim McGraw.

When my friend pitched the concert tour me, I think it was pitched as a Lady A concert; I’m not sure I even knew McGraw was also playing when I committed to go. And that was fine, I was going to see Lady Antebellum; I really didn’t have much interest in Tim McGraw.

I enjoyed their single “I Run To You” greatly; enough that when I saw Best Buy had the CD on sale for like $8 last year I figured it was worth picking up. Their second CD, I bought twice in the first week it was out. And there’s some good stuff on there. And, yeah, sure, “Need You Now” and “Love This Pain” were kinda very much where I was when the album came out. But, yeah, to summarize, I loves me some Lady Antebellum.

And they were awesome; I loved their performance, and it was a great opportunity getting to see them live.

Tim McGraw, on the other hand? To be honest, when I heard about the concert, the main thing I knew about Tim McGraw was the Taylor Swift song: “When you think Tim McGraw / Hope you think my favorite song.” I knew I must have heard some of his songs, but none of them had made much of an impression. To prepare for the concert, I put some of his music on my iPod, but never quite got around to taking a serious stab at listening to it. The radio station we were listening to was playing his music before the concert, and that was a pretty good chunk of all the prep I got.

For a bit, I figured he’d peaked before he started. Without even visibly coming on stage, he and the band did Phil Collins’ “In The Air Tonight.” Since that was a song that I actually know and like, I thought that might well be the high point.

But, I have to say, he did a good job. I was entertained. He was a very good performer, put on a good show, and I recognized more of his songs than I thought I would. I went back afterwards and rated several of them higher so they’d show up in my iTunes more often.

Even so, they highpoint still wasn’t one of his songs. He brought out a couple of songwriters, and said they were going to do one of his favorite songs. They start singing: “‘When you think Tim McGraw, I hope you think my favorite song …’ Oh, sorry, we thought you said one of your favorite subjects.”

I even bought my first concert tour t-shirt. I’ve bought shirts from an independent artist or two that I like at their shows, but I’ve never gotten an official tour shirt before. I really wish I’d gotten one when B.B. King was in town in January, so that regret nudged me into getting a Lady A shirt. I wore it to work Monday and everything.

On the way out, there were people handing out coupons to concert sponsor Outback Steakhouse, and an ad for McGraw, the fragrance by Tim McGraw, and McGraw Southern Blend (which really isn’t that different, but I guess Tim McGraw’s pretty southern already). I’ve been working on my own little song to go with it:

“When you smell Tim McGraw / Hope the smell is not too strong … “

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