Posted by: Amy | April 28, 2010

April 24 – Rowdy Friends Tour – Hank Williams, Jr, Eric Church & Jamey Johnson, Atlanta, GA

On Saturday Rachel and I braved the rain and storms and ventured out to Gwinnett Arena for the 2010 version of Hank Williams, Jr’s of the Rowdy Friends Tour. This year’s edition features opening acts Eric Church, Jamey Johnson and The Grascals.

I had won a meet and greet with Eric through his fan club, so our first stop upon arrival was the will call window. After getting my pass, we got food and found our seats. I then went to the meet and greet line. We waited in line for a few minutes and were then led back to the room for meet and greet. Marshall, who works for Eric, came around to check everyone’s pass prior to Eric entering the room. Two guys said that they had known Eric since they were kids and when Marshall was about to check their passes, they rushed him and flipped him over their shoulders. It was an amusing sight and thankfully, Marshall was entertained and not mad. 🙂 When it was my turn to meet Eric, I said, “Hey, Eric!” He replied, “Hey! Are you are you doing?” We took our picture and as I handed him a picture from our previous meet and greet for him to sign, I said, “Y’all killed it in Clemson on Thursday night!!” He said, “Thanks! Let’s do it again tonight!” After that, my turn was over.

I made my way back to my seat as The Grascals performed. I don’t know if they normally perform on the main stage. We had seen on Twitter that they were supposed to perform outside the venue, but that was probably canceled because of the stormy weather. They played five or six songs, but I wasn’t able to keep track of their set list. They played a mix of traditional bluegrass songs and more mainstream country songs played with a bluegrass flavor.

Jamey Johnson was on next. I will apologize now for not having a great set list for Jamey. He played songs that were either new songs or old country songs that I just don’t know. I tried my best to research the titles and found a few. I absolutely LOVE Jamey! One of my favorite shows from last year was Jamey’s at the Alabama Theatre in Birmingham as part of the CMT Tour. Jamey didn’t do any talking. He let the music speak for itself. I love how he crafts such amazing songs that can range from humorous to clever to serious. He’s definitely one of my favorite artists. Before Jamey took the stage, “Released” the opening track from his That Lonesome Song album started playing. “Here’s all your belongings. And here’s all your paperwork. Mr. Johnson as of now you’re free to do whatever you want to do. Just stay out of trouble.” Jamey entered the stage as his band was playing the opening riffs of “The High Cost of Living.” The rest of the show, with the exception of the last two songs of the set, was all songs that I had not heard before and most of them were slow, subdued numbers. He closed the set with two familiar songs. First was “In Color,” which included the audience singing the last chorus back to Jamey. I can only imagine that that has to be the coolest thing to experience as a songwriter and performer. The final song was Jamey’s version of the hit that he wrote for George Strait, “Give It Away.” Jamey adds a special part to the end in which he mentions that he’s got a shelf full of CMAs and ACMs and that George Strait even knows his name and he still can’t give it away. I love his sense of humor. (I apologize for gushing! I just really, really like Jamey and his music! 🙂 )

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Jamey’s Set List

• Released/High Cost of Living
• Lonely at the Top
• Can’t Cash My Checks
• Alabama’s Lady Down Love
• Playing the Part
• Macon
• Even the Skies Are Blue
• Mental Revenge
• In Color
• Give it Away

While Jamey Johnson was subtle and subdued, Eric Church was full throttle. He opened the show with “Ain’t Killed Me Yet” and kept the energy going for the whole set. The majority of the audience was probably there to see Hank, but Rachel and I were on our feet for Eric’s entire show and we were singing along to every song! Of course he had to pare down his set list from the full headlining set, but he kept a good mix of singles and album cuts. He even played “Smoke a Little Smoke,” which surprised me a little because I recently read an interview where he said that he couldn’t play that song until the encore because people get so rowdy when he plays it. So, I didn’t think that he’d play it as one of the opening acts. Eric’s show definitely got rowdier than I am used to when the guy in front of us lit up a joint during the song. That was a first for me. I know, I live a sheltered life! 🙂 Eric closed the set with “Love Your Love the Most” that resulted in yet another audience sing along. As usual Eric was touched at the audience’s response and the general acceptance of the song. He left the stage rather simply. He said, “Thank you! I’m Eric Church.” And then he left the stage.

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Eric’s Set List

• Ain’t Killed Me Yet
• Two Pink Lines
• These Boots
• Guys Like Me
• Pledge Allegiance to the Hag
• Livin’ Part of Life
• Before She Does
• Hell on the Heart
• How ‘Bout You
• Lotta Boot Left to Fill
• Smoke a Little Smoke
• Love Your Love the Most

After the set change, Hank Jr entered the stage and played “My Name Is Bocephus.” As with Jamey’s set, there were several songs that I did not know, so I’ve done my best to figure out what they were. I apologize for not having the complete list. For the first song, Hank was wearing his signature black cowboy hat, but as the night progressed, he alternated between the cowboy hat and several baseball caps. From the first song, he displayed his immense musical talent. He played the guitar and the piano beautifully. He even played the fiddle on one tune. I was extremely impressed with his talent. Midway through his set, Hank sat down at the piano and before he played, he invited anyone who was going to be in Nashville in the next couple of years to go to the Country Music Hall of Fame to see the Williams family exhibit. It really is amazing to think of how much the Williamses have shaped country music. Hank then talked about growing up and having Elvis and Jerry Lee Lewis and Johnny Cash hanging around his house. He then played Jerry Lee Lewis’ “Whole Lotta Shakin’.” Then Hank’s band left the stage and he moved to the front of the stage with just his acoustic guitar. He mentioned the people of Yazoo, Mississippi whose lives were devastated by a tornado earlier in the day. He was joined onstage by The Grascals for a great rendition of his dad’s “I Saw the Light.” He continued on with his acoustic set, including a medley that started with “All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down” and featured Waylon Jennings “Good Ol’ Boys” and Johnny Cash’s “I Walk the Line” before going back to “Rowdy Friends.”

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Following the acoustic portion of the show, Hank cranked it up for the rest of the show. The last two songs of the night are probably two of Hank’s most famous songs – “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight” and “Family Tradition.” During “Family Tradition,” Eric returned to the stage smoking a big cigar and sang a verse. Jamey and The Grascals also came out to sing, but stayed near the back of the stage. Our seats on the side of the arena coupled with the speakers hanging from the ceiling, blocked our view of them, unfortunately. The show ended with “Family Tradition,” even though the crowd was chanting for an encore.

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Overall, it was a very entertaining evening. We originally bought tickets because we wanted to see Jamey and Eric, but I can honestly say that I enjoyed Hank’s show. I have an appreciation for country music’s history and Hank has definitely influenced today’s generation of artists. He has so many songs that were regular mainstays in the CD players of every guy that I went to high school with and hearing them bought back some fun memories.

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Hank’s Set List
(If anyone knows the titles of the songs that I couldn’t identify, please feel free to share!)

• My Name Is Bocephus
• The Conversation
• Dixie on My Mind
• “Come down to Georgia to play”
• If Heaven Ain’t a Lot Dixie
• Blues Man
• Mr. Weatherman
• “Time finally come ‘til that one day”
• “I know who you are baby, I know what they call you”
• Kaw-Liga
• Whole Lotta Shaking
• I Saw the Light (with The Grascals)
• Outlaw Women
• Dinosaur
• There’s a Tear in My Beer
• Feelin’ Better
• All My Rowdy Friends Have Settled Down/ Good Ol’ Boys/ I Walk the Line medley
• A Country Boy Can Survive
• Lovesick Blues
• Born to Boogie
• Lonesome On’ry and Mean
• All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight
• Family Tradition (w/ Eric, Jamey & The Grascals)

See all of the pictures here.

Because of the location of our seats, these pictures aren’t the greatest, but you get the idea.


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