Posted by: Amy | November 1, 2010

September 17 – Brantley Gilbert, Classic Center, Athens, GA

After spending much of the last year touring throughout the Southeast and even branching into the Midwest and other parts of the country in support of his latest album, Halfway to Heaven, Brantley Gilbert returned to Athens, GA to play for a hometown crowd. As a special treat, Brantley offered a limited number of tickets to a pre-show party that was scheduled to feature acoustic performances from Brantley and Daniel Lee of the Daniel Lee Band. My friend Christy and I were able to get a pair of the pre-party tickets before they sold out. When we arrived at the venue, we learned that we would also be treated to performances by Brian Davis and Rachel Farley. Brantley came out and introduced each of the artists and then asked them to each play an original song and a song that they had written with Brantley. After all three had played their two songs, Brantley jumped on stage and asked fans what he should play. A fan shouted out “Whenever We’re Alone.” It was really awesome to hear him sing that song live and the fact that it was an acoustic version made it even better! He also played his amazing cover of Vern Gosdin’s “Chiseled in Stone.” The pre-party was a fun way to kick off the evening!

When the party was over, we made our way across the street to the Classic Center for the main event. The Center seats around 2,000 people and it was a packed house. The venue’s orchestra pit served as a general admission pit for the show. Unlike being in many standing room only situations, this one was actually pleasant because they didn’t oversell the pit and there was room to move around without bumping into anyone. The Daniel Lee Band kicked off the fun. This show was the Winder, GA-based band’s biggest gig to-date. Daniel Lee is a talented songwriter whose songs reflect the country boy way of life. He and all of the band clearly enjoy playing live. While some bands would be intimidated to be the opener at such a big show, Daniel and the guys seemed right at home on the stage. They were all rockin’ out and were really into the show, which translated well to the audience who was in the palm of their hands by the end of the set. Everyone was fired up and ready for Brantley by the time that the Daniel Lee Band left the stage. What a great night for those guys! I have no doubt that they’ll be headlining big venues in the not too distant future!

Daniel Lee
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Daniel Lee and Blaine Lee
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Daniel Lee Band’s Set List

  • She Devil
  • Redneck Routine
  • Complain
  • Hell Yeah
  • Tanked
  • Katie
  • Low Down, Dirty and Bad
  • Country Boy’s Dream
  • Folsom Prison Blues
  • Six Reasons Why

Patrick Stevens
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Jeremy Phillips
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Daniel Lee and Blaine Lee
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After a relatively quick set change, Brantley and the band took the stage and started playing the familiar opening bars of “My Kinda Party.” From the get-go, Brantley was wound up and visibly excited to be playing for his hometown crowd. He is very appreciative of all of the support that he’s received from the Athens community and that was evident as he worked to acknowledge not only the fans down front, but also the fans up in the balcony. One of my favorite photos from the night is one where he’s pointing up at the fans in the highest seats.

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Brantley played “Saving Amy,” which I had not heard him play live before, so that was a cool moment. He wrote that song about a friend and he’s very emotionally connected to it.

An unusual moment during the show was near the end. During Brantley’s cover of Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Simple Man,” a fan hopped on stage and also pulled his girlfriend on stage. Then he hit one knee and proposed to her in front of 2,000 screaming fans. Earlier in the show, I had seen the guy gesture for Brantley to lean down toward him and he was talking into Brantley’s ear. I thought it was a little strange at the time, but clearly the guy had a plan! When the girl say yes, the crowd went nuts! What an unforgettable proposal.

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At the end of the show, Brantley traditionally goes out into the crowd to greet fans as he makes his way to the exit. But, for the Athens show, he did something a little more extravagant. He and his security team disappeared backstage and the band continued to play after Brantley finished singing “G.R.I.T.S.” A few minutes later, we could see the crowd in the upper balcony all looking at one spot. Brantley and his crew had made their way to the highest point in the venue to meet fans. He made his way across the width of the balcony to meet as many fans as possible. Although there isn’t a bad seat in the house, I’m sure that those fans’ night was made when they got to be up close and personal with Brantley Gilbert for a brief moment.

It was certainly a fun night of great music and a wonderful homecoming celebration for one of Georgia’s rising stars!

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Brantley Gilbert’s Set List

  • My Kinda Party
  • Hell on Wheels
  • Copperhead Road
  • Bending the Rule and Breaking the Law
  • Kick It in the Sticks
  • The Best of Me/Picture on the Dashboard medley
  • Chisled in Stone
  • Saving Amy
  • Instrumental Jam
  • Dirt Road Anthem
  • Outlaw Women
  • Take It Outside
  • Simple Man
  • My Kind of Crazy
  • G.R.I.T.S.

See the whole album here.


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