|Brad Paisley by Jessica Blankenship|
Even with it being winter, the feeling of summer was in the air during Brad Paisley's latest stop in the H2O Frozen Over Tour at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Kentucky. This time, Paisley brought along Darius Rucker and Jerrod Niemann to join in the fun filled night.
Starting things off was country newcomer, Jerrod Niemann, who has seen success with both his album and single, "Lover Lover." Performing that hit single, his energetic set included "What Do You Want," "Forever Clear," and "One More Drinking Song." Niemann also showcased his talent by singing like John Anderson during the ending of "How Can I Be So Thirsty," that he written with Anderson. After the concert, fans were treated with a special private show at Saddle Ridge by Niemann.
Even though his claim to fame was with Hootie and the Blowfish, Darius Rucker has been setting his sights on the field of country music. He would perform his personal hit songs such as "Don't Think I Don't Think About It," "Alright," and "Come Back Song," as well as songs from his pop days, such as "Let Her Cry," and "I Only Want to Be With You." He excelled in pulling emotional heartstrings with "It Won't Be Like This For Long" as photos of his own daughters were displayed on the large screens. By having Nashville based musicians, the hit songs from Rucker's Hootie & the Blowfish days had a refreshing sound. He would surprise fans by singing "Family Tradition" by Hank Williams, Jr. as a sign that even though he's use to singing pop, he's broken that tradition by coming over to the country music world. However, he would turn that notion around by concluding his set with the pop hit, "Purple Rain," by Prince.
Brad Paisley proved that he is rightfully deserving of his Entertainer of the Year award with his performance on Saturday night. Opening with "Water," Paisley emerged behind screens that looked as if he was coming out of a pool of water. As the fans screamed with excitement, he would soon kick the energy up. Following up with "Online," and easing into a setlist that included "Welcome to the Future," "American Saturday Night," "I'm Still a Guy," "Waitin’ On A Woman," "She’s Everything," "Mud On the Tires," and "I'm Going Miss Her (The Fishing Song)." A special photo montage paying tribute to past and present performers in country music was showcased during "This is Country Music."
There were also plenty of highlights that interacted with the fans senses. During "Celebrity," fans were treated with a video montage of a big head mascot of Paisley living the life of a celebrity and the troubles he gets into. A special holographic image of Alison Krauss singing made fans believe she was there in person to sing the haunting "Whiskey Lullaby."
For those in the back of the arena, they received special treatment as Paisley would perform on a special platform mimicking a swimming pool. He would sing, "Letter to Me," and then run back up towards the stage during his next song. At the end of the night, Jerrod Niemann and Darius Rucker, along with the bands, joined in for a rowdy version of "Alcohol."
With plenty of guitar licks and solos, Paisley excelled in showcasing his talents of real showmanship. Country music is in good hands with Brad Paisley.