I have been looking forward to seeing Brantley Gilbert live for a while. But after interviewing him earlier in the week, I was even more excited about my road trip to Macon to see my first BG concert! Friday afternoon I left work early in an attempt to beat the typically nightmarish rush hour traffic that plagues Atlanta at the start of every weekend. I wasn’t very successful as I got caught in two serious traffic jams on the drive down to Macon. It seems that no matter how early I try to leave town, the traffic still catches me. Oh, well! I still made it to the venue a couple of hours before the doors opened. I met my friends Christy and Chrissie at the venue and we hung out and listened to the band doing soundcheck. Before the doors opened, Christy and I got a chance to spend a few minutes with Brantley. He was just as kind and gracious as he had been during our phone interview. We chatted about the movies that he’s been watching on the bus lately – The Hangover and Avatar, if you’re wondering. We also talked a little bit about motorcycle riding, one of his other passions besides music. After our chat we headed into the bar and claimed our spots at the front of the stage.
Craig Boyd and Southland kicked off the evening. They opened the show with a song called “Welcome to the Southland” and kept the energy high playing a variety of country and rock covers.
Craig Boyd & Southland Set List
- Welcome to the Southland
- Who Wouldn’t Wanna Be Me
- Liza Jane
- Save a Horse, Ride a Cowboy
- Some Kind of Wonderful
- Keep Your Hands to Yourself/Achy Breaky Heart
- The Joker/Angel
- Sweet Home Alabama
By the time that Brantley took the stage, the bar was packed and the place was sweltering! I’ve only been to Whiskey River one other time for a concert and it was insanely hot that night, too. I guess because there were so many people packed into close quarters. Brantley and the band started the show with “My Kinda Party” and they kept the tempo up for the first half of the show playing songs from both of his albums as well as covers of Steve Earle’s “Copperhead Road” and Sean McConnell’s “Lie Baby Lie.” It was easy to tell that Brantley was hyped up about the show! He was asking the crowd if we’d come to party and raise some hell and we confirmed his suspicions by screaming loudly every time he inquired about our mood. With the hot spotlight beaming down on the stage, it was even toastier on stage than it was in the crowd and Brantley quickly shed his black t-shirt in favor of his white wife beater.
Midway through the show, the band left the stage and Brantley slowed it down with an acoustic set. He played a medley of “The Best of Me” and “Picture on the Dashboard.” Before playing “The Best of Me,” Brantley announced that he had only met Jason Aldean a couple of times, but that Jason was his new best friend because Jason just cut two more of Brantley’s songs. I can’t wait to hear them! After the medley he played “My Kinda Crazy,” which I heard him mention in a previous interview is probably going to be the second single from the Halfway to Heaven album. He wrapped up the acoustic portion of the show with “Them Boys.”
The band rejoined Brantley for the autobiographical “Halfway to Heaven,” which details Brantley’s serious car accident and the changes that he has made in his life following his close call. For the rest of the night, Brantley didn’t slow things down. It was a full-out rock show! He started with his current single “Kick It in the Sticks” and he was joined on stage by Rachel Farley who sang along and provided the “Hey, Trouble! What’s up?” line. I have not had a chance to see her perform, but Christy and Chrissie were at Brantley’s show at Wild Bill’s in Atlanta where Rachel opened and they raved about her. Next Brantley sang “Dirt Road Anthem,” a song that orginally appeared on Colt Ford’s Ride Through the Country album and was written by Brantley and Colt. The song allowed Brantley to show off his rap skills and I was very impressed! He played covers of Hank Jr’s “Outlaw Women” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man.” Sandwiched between the covers was “Take It Outside,” a song about a good old-fashioned, no holds barred brawl. It’s a pretty rowdy song and the crowd was going nuts when Brantley sang it. Throughout the concert Brantley’s vocals were drowned out by the singing of the audience, which was really cool! Everyone was so into the show! During the instrumental portions of “Take It Outside,” Brantley worked the stage and made his way down the line slapping hands and fist-bumping with fans. Several times during the show, he thanked the fans and it was evident that he was genuinely touched by the fans’ enthusiasm. For the encore he sang his ode to “G.R.I.T.S.,” better known as girls raised in the south. He again walked around slapping hands and trying to see as many fans as he could. He instructed everyone on the front row to move their beer bottles from the stage so that he could get closer to us. At the end of the song, he hopped off of the stage, escorted by two bodyguards, and made his way through the crowd to greet fans before exiting the bar. That was a pretty bold move considering the amount of alcohol consumed by the audience at that point. I’m sure that the fans in the back appreciated a chance to see Brantley up close and I’m sure that he was glad to see the fans. He gave 100% percent all night long and the audience recognized and appreciated his efforts judging from the noise level of the crowd throughout the show.
Upon leaving the show, I only had two questions. One – Why in the world did I wait so long to see Brantley Gilbert live? Two – When can I see him again? I can’t really answer the first one other than to say that I obviously didn’t know what I was missing! As for the answer to the second question, I think that I’m going to be making a road trip to Greenville, SC this Friday to see the show again!
Brantley Gilbert’s Set List
- My Kinda Party
- Hell on Wheels
- Copperhead Road
- Bending the Rules and Breaking the Law
- Live It Up
- Lie Baby Lie
- The Best of Me/Picture on the Dashboard
- My Kind of Crazy
- Them Boys
- Halfway to Heaven
- Saving Amy
- Kick It in the Sticks
- Dirt Road Anthem
- Outlaw Women
- Take it Outside
- Simple Man
On a side note, if you have been following the blog for any length of time, you know that I’m a huge Eric Church fan. Brantley reminds me a lot of Eric. They’re both phenomenal songwriters and they’re both so passionate about the music. They sing every song with such conviction, probably because all of the songs are so personal to them. That enthusiasm is infectious and I think that it makes for the best shows. Both artists have built their fanbases through grassroots efforts – via word of mouth and one live show at a time. Brantley has also successfully used social media, particularly MySpace, to share his music and gain fans. He has had over 12.5 million song plays on MySpace! Brantley Gilbert is the real deal and if you get a chance, go check out his live show!
I took a ton of pictures so check out the entire album here.
I’d like to extend a special thanks to Brantley, Amanda and Lyn for being so gracious during the interview and at the show!