Posted by: Amy | November 30, 2010

Trips & Picks Part Two: November 20 – Jason Aldean Wide Open Tour, Gwinnett Arena, Duluth, GA

Now that you’ve checked out Part One, I’ll get right into the details of Jason Aldean’s last show on the Wide Open tour.

After the VIP backstage experience was over, we made our way to the general admission pit. We got back before the show started, but I had to go back out to the lobby to meet another friend whose tickets I had. Once I met her and then got back to the pit, Thompson Square had already begun their set. I decided to hang out in the back of the pit for the rest of their set so that I wouldn’t disturb everyone as I made my way to my friends. Thompson Square’s set list was identical to Friday night’s. I glanced around the floor to see the crowd’s reaction to the duo. Several people were standing up and bobbing their heads to every song and when the group performed their current single, “Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not,” a lot of people were singing along. Like Friday night, their set flew by.

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Thompson Square’s Set List

  • Baby I Got You
  • Let’s Fight
  • Are You Gonna Kiss Me or Not
  • One of Those Days
  • Led Zeppelin’s Rock and Roll

Luke Bryan was next and he was clearly excited to be playing for fans in his home state. He had a large turn out of his devoted fans who came ready to party. He changed up the set list slightly from the set list in Birmingham. Noticeably missing was “We Rode in Trucks,” but during Jason’s set, it became obvious why he had skipped it. Early on in Luke’s set I noticed that his voice didn’t have its usual fullness and there were a few times when he clearly struggled. I guess the long tour had taken its toll, but he didn’t let it hinder his performance or energy. A little over halfway through his set, Luke’s band left the stage and he treated the audience to an acoustic performance of an emotional new song called “You Don’t Know Jack” about a man down on his luck. There are several YouTube videos of Luke singing it if you’re interested in hearing it. During “All My Friends Say,” Luke walked over to the pit that we were in and pointed at some people standing to our right. I looked over and saw Chipper Jones and Brian McCann of the Atlanta Braves. Chipper and Luke are big hunting buddies and both Luke and Jason have appeared in the Buck Commander TV show and one of the DVDs. Buck Commander is co-owned by Chipper.

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Luke Bryan’s Set List

  • Country Man
  • What Country Is
  • Someone Else Calling You Baby
  • Rain Is a Good Thing
  • Every Time I See You
  • Do I
  • You Don’t Know Jack
  • I’m Hungover
  • Drinkin’ Beer and Wastin’ Bullets
  • All My Friends Say/Metallica’s Enter Sandman

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When Luke’s set was over, I looked over to see if there were any other Braves players in attendance. I spotted former Braves catcher and current bullpen coach Eddie Perez, catcher David Ross and former Braves Kelly Johnson and Jeff Francoeur. I read an interview with Chipper Jones a couple of days after the show in which he mentioned that the new Braves manager, Fredi Gonzalez, and several other players were also there. During the show fans didn’t seem to be bothering them, but I did see them taking pictures with people after the show.

Jason’s set began in much the same way as the previous night’s set in Birmingham. The white curtain was put in place and Jason appeared in silhouette as the band started playing “Crazy Town.” Throughout the night Jason thanked the fans, his crew and the tour sponsors for a great year out on the road. He was going at full speed from the first note and didn’t let up for the whole evening. During the pre-party someone asked if there were going to be any surprises since it was the last show. Jason answered that he had been working a surprise and that he hoped that it went better live than it had during soundcheck. Right before Jason played “My Kinda Party,” the surprise was revealed. Jason invited Luke back out to sing a couple of songs with him. Sarge, Luke’s road manager, also came out with what appeared to be a white towel or large sheet of white paper that had the lyrics to “My Kinda Party” written on it. Jason explained to the crowd that he and Luke were good friends and told Luke how much he had enjoyed having Luke out on the road with him. Then, with the lyrics in place at Luke’s feet, the guys started playing the song. Jason let Luke sing the second verse and for the most part he got it right, but there were a few lines that he flubbed. Luke, you really need to brush up on your Jason Aldean lyrics! :) After the song was over, Jason’s band left the stage and Luke took a moment to thank Jason for a great tour and then he asked the crowd to acknowledge Bobby Cox. Luke thanked Bobby for everything that he has done for Atlanta and the Braves organization. It was a great moment! Following the ovation for Bobby, Jason and Luke began playing an acoustic version of “We Rode in Trucks.” Jason has often said that it is his favorite song of Luke’s. It’s probably my favorite Luke song, too. Jason did a better job of singing Luke’s song than Luke had done singing Jason’s, but throughout their time on stage, they both appeared to be having a blast. At the conclusion of the song, Jason gave Luke a big hug and asked the crowd to give Luke one more round of applause.

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After Luke left the stage, the show continued on as scheduled, except that “Asphalt Cowboy” was omitted from the set list, presumably to make room for “Trucks.” During the encore I realized that this show would be the last time that I would get to hear Jason perform Kid Rock’s “Cowboy.” Since the first night of the tour in Greenville, SC, that has probably been my favorite moment of the show. I love the crowd’s reaction when they hear Jason singing it and I love to hear Jason singing something that is seemingly so far from his normal song selection. Jason did the crazy jump from the sloping ramp on the stage, diagonally across the speaker at the edge of the stage and onto the catwalk. That moment terrifies and thrills me at the same time. I cannot imagine how disastrous it would be if he just busted it as he was trying to land. Thankfully, Jason is much more graceful than I am and that hasn’t ever been an issue. :) When the song was over, Jason and the band took their final bow for the year.

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The whole evening was SO much fun and even better than I had imagined. It was also a little bittersweet. After attending seven shows in four states since January, when the tour kicked off, I was a little sad to see it end. But, I am so excited to see what 2011 brings! Thanks to Jason and his awesome band for a ridiculously great year! And, another HUGE thanks to Country Financial and Cotton States for giving me the VIP treatment for the final night of the tour. I will remember this night for a long time!

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Jason Aldean’s Set List

  • Crazy Town
  • Wide Open
  • Amarillo Sky
  • Why
  • The Truth
  • Tattoos on This Town
  • Dirt Road Anthem
  • My Kinda Party
  • We Rode in Trucks
  • Bryan Adams’ Heaven
  • Johnny Cash
  • Relentless
  • Laughed Until We Cried
  • She’s Country
  • Hicktown

Encore

  • Big Green Tractor
  • Kid Rock’s Cowboy

I’ll leave you with some of my favorite shots from the night. You can see all of the photos here.

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