Grand Rapids, Michigan (May 17,2019) -Jason Aldean proved to the sold-out crowd Friday night at Van Andel Arena that his 2017 and 2018 “Entertainer of the Year” awards were no fluke. From the show opening “Take A Little Ride With Me”, Aldean was all business with no glitz or glamour, just hard driving music that his fans came to hear.
Country “purists” often condemn his sound as more rock than country, but by appearance alone, Aldean doesn’t care a bit. His shows are legendary and tonight’s “Ride All Night Tour” was a case in point. Twelve thousand plus fans on their feet, singing note for note to the hit songs he has churned out over the last fourteen years.
Staying true to that formula that won him the Entertainer title, Aldean was all about giving his fans as many songs as possible, two dozen in total, all while sporting his “tell-it-like-it-is attitude.” Sure, all the hits that propelled him to stardom were on the set-list, “Crazy Town”, ”Big Green Tractor”, ”Amarillo Sky” and the over-the-top “My Kinda Party,” but it was newer song that finally brought the house down.
Telling the crowd that he did everything he could to get his duet partner to come to Van Andel Arena for the evening, Aldean confessed that, ” having her appear on the large video screen is the best I could do” as he and Miranda Lambert performed the duet single “Drowns The Whiskey,” to the delight of his roaring fans. Its not often that a newer song gets this type of reception, but when you have lyrics that pull at the heart strings of anyone with a broken relationship, then perform it with your female equal, it becomes pure magic as we witnessed tonight.
As the high energy show moved toward its conclusion, Aldean announced to the packed house, “Most people do this thing at the end of a show where they go off stage for a few minutes, you guys clap and whistle and all that stuff and then they come out and play a few more songs,” he continued “They call it an encore … but I personally think encores suck ass. I figure if I’m backstage, and you guys are out here having fun, the only thing we’re doing is wasting time.”
What would have been the typical encore was instead filled by some of his most recognizable and successful hits from his massive library which included “Dirt Road Anthem,” “She’s Country” and finishing with a pseudo anthem of his self-appointed musical style, “That’s the Only Way I Know.”
Its hard to believe that Jason Aldean has been a mainstay in the country music scene for over fourteen years. With a catalog full of massive hits that would make any artist envious, his career has been relatively uneventful by his peers standards. His music has become a testament to which all country music new comers are measured. Granted, Aldean is no Haggard, Cash or Jones, but that’s ok. He has taken a genre of music and almost single handedly, transformed it while creating a persona that has enhanced his personal presentation and brand. Go ahead and keep on believing that Jason Aldean is not real country. Your going miss one of the most prolific performers in the last fifty years, and that will be too bad……for you!