Jason Aldean is a hometown hero. When he sings, the 41-year-old Macon, Georgia native’s voice speaks to the shared desires of the human experience, catered towards middle American culture. He is country music’s frontrunner, infusing inspiration to hopes of living out ones dreams.
Perhaps most inspiring about Aldean’s set is the hope it brings. The showman unfolded a drama with his set list, infusing hometown pride while indulging fantasies about escapism at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena Sept. 7.
The finely tuned set glamorized dirt bikes, back roads, drag racing, eighteen-wheelers, powerstroke diesels, thermoses and water towers to delight of a sold-out audience. Of course, the Broken Bow Records superstar’s consistent brand is more inclusive, covering loves gained and lost with titles like “The Truth” or his latest single “Girl Like You,” which goes for adds today (Sept. 10).
Aldeans High Noon Tour has touched down in over 30 towns from coast to coast this summer, ever proving “Hicktown[s]” can be found outside of “Flyover States.”
The set impresses with the appropriate, hard-driving intro “Gettin’ Warmed Up” and takes fans through “Lights Come On,” a title about a “six-string circus” coming to town, seducing and glamorizing the allure of love and money that come with show business. With confidence, Aldean delivers “Rearview Town,” finally looking in the mirror one last time at a town of “broken hearts and rusted plows” he never thought he’d leave.
Aldean then drops you off at “Crazy Town.” A song about becoming a star in Nashville, the track is Aldean’s equivalent of Reba’s rags-to-riches tale “Fancy” as he sings: One year they repossess your truck/and the next you make a couple million bucks.
For the most part, each title speaks of fondness from where Aldean came from. Songs like “Tattoos On This Town” reflect on hallowed ground while “Amarillo Sky” remembers the struggle it took to live out those dreams, no matter the scale. “They Don’t Know” gives street cred, speaking from the inside, while graphics of mud slingers dance behind on video walls. He’s not just singing redneck anthems, he is speaking for many still inside those small towns.
As a whole, his setlist tells a story of human experience—struggle, self identification and pride. Aldean’s voice remains strong, 13 years in to his career and his longtime New Voice band plays tightly and subtly choreographed, to make the most impact for a show, worthy of earning Entertainer of the Year, for which Aldean reigns for ACM the past three years, and is nominated for at the CMA’s on Nov. 14 (final round ballot closes Oct. 23).
The whole production speaks to the superstar status of Aldean. The video walls and lighting were top notch. Unfortunately, pyrotechnics of any kind—CO2, flames or fireworks—were left behind on this tour, which is also touching a handful of extra large stadium venues.
Special guests Lauren Alaina and Luke Combs complemented the first-class show perfectly. Combs’ fans impressively cheered as loud as a crowd for a teenage heartthrob, and Alaina’s voice soared as she beamed with personality.
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