Jason Aldean takes a lot of pride in his ability to throw a great party for fans.
And it’s paid off for him handsomely over the years, as evidenced by his two consecutives victories (in 2016 and 2017) at the ACM Awards for entertainer of the year.
Yet, the party was far from raging – at least by Aldean standards – for much of his headlining set on Thursday night (Sept. 28) at the Concord Pavilion. And the 40-year-old country music star knew it.
He just got the sense that the fans were holding back a bit, perhaps because they were worried about having to get up and go to work on the next day.
Aldean had a solution, which he shared with the crowd.
“This would be a really good time to call in sick,” Aldean said after finishing the third song of the set, “Johnny Cash.”
I don’t know whether a good portion of the fans took him up on the advice – and, if so, I’m really sorry for possibly blowing your alibi with this article. But, either way, it wasn’t enough to make a big difference and the crowd remained pretty restrained throughout much of the gig.
Expect the situation to improve greatly when Aldean performs at the Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View on Saturday (Sept. 30), when most fans won’t have to worry about getting up and going to work on the next day. Chris Young, Kane Brown and Dee Jay Silver are also on the bill. Show time is 7:30 p.m. and tickets are $31.75-$71.75, www.livenation.com.
Kicking off the show with the title track to his latest No. 1 album, “They Don’t Know,” Aldean proved to be a man of many strengths in the live arena.
Yet, singing isn’t really one of him. He’s a bit awkward at the microphone and only has a so-so voice. His delivery is part mumble and part head cold, often sounding like he needs to blow his nose.
That’s what makes all the other things he does so important.
He’s particularly good at finding straight-ahead country songs that work well with his limited vocal ability, leaning on big shout-along anthems and undemanding mid-tempo offerings.
Aldean – whose top-selling album is 2010’s “My Kinda Party” – also works hard to connect with the crowd, doing such things as signing autographs midway through songs for the fans down near the stage. And he claims that he doesn’t talk much to the crowd, but he was actually quite chatty in Concord.
He also has a firecracker five-piece backing band, which did a great job in helping to bring “Any Ol’ Barstool,” “Tattoos on This Town” and other favorites to life onstage.
— Jason Aldean (@Jason_Aldean) September 28, 2017
Yet, he scored at least as many “misses” as “hits” during the first part of the show.
Aldean – dressed in jeans, a white Allman Brothers Band T-shirt and a cowboy hat pulled down low, so that his eyes were basically hidden from view – began to pick up some momentum as the night progressed. But it still wasn’t quite enough for him.
“I feel like you still ain’t there,” the singer scolded the fans.
The headliner and his fans finally seemed to get on the same page during the homestretch of the main set, which included a really lively take on “Hicktown.”
“Now, you all sound like you’re warming up a bit,” he remarked. “I like it.”
Yes, I realize this might all be shtick. And that Aldean might’ve made the exact same comments earlier this month in Albuquerque – or, for that matter, at any other stop on this tour. (And, please, let me know if he makes the same remarks at the Shoreline show.)
Yet, shtick or not, these comments rang a bit too true in Concord, on a night when Aldean’s “Kinda Party” was kinda disappointing.
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