Concert Review: Brad Paisley Returns to West Palm Beach
On Saturday, July 10, country mega-star Brad Paisley was the first post-pandemic concert to return to the iThink Financial Amphitheatre in West Palm Beach, Florida. It was the first major concert in West Palm Beach since March of 2019 as the pandemic shuttered this venue for nearly a year and a half. Country music lovers arrived early on a hot and sticky humid evening and filled the parking lot with plenty of Paisley’s tunes while doing some light tailgating before the show. Paisley rolled into town, the third stop on a 30-date tour run that will keep the West Virginia native on the road well into October.
Paisley has been quite busy over the past year, diving in the Bahamas, filming an episode for this week’s upcoming Shark Week (July 13 Discovery Channel), and spending time filming Nationwide Insurance commercials with his best buddy Peyton Manning.
For someone who hasn’t played much live throughout the pandemic, Paisley was in fine form Saturday, having just opened the tour in Jacksonville, followed by a stop in Tampa. Paisley hasn’t missed a beat and, unlike many of us, has kept himself in great shape. His two-and-a-half hour set kept fans on their feet the entire time, dancing in place while drinking a few cold ones. Paisley provided the entertainment that included plenty of on-stage surprises along with 25 songs that consisted of most of his big hits and a few covers.
From the way it appeared, Paisley has moved beyond the pandemic, not mentioning it during his performance, instead he engaged with his fans, getting up close and personal to them as they snapped selfies with the guitar slinger. There were several highlights, including bringing local resident and Major League Baseball Hall of Fame catcher Johnny Bench on stage, where the two yakked it up while the fans listened closely. Paisley’s warm and funny sort of side-splitting personality has the ability to draw you in, connecting with his audience, giving you the feeling that you could join his inner circle of close friends and become his buddy.
Paisley’s talents extend well beyond his vocal chords; he’s quite the guitar player. He was certainly in the spotlight the entire night while supported by six members of his band who certainly should get their due credit. He doesn’t travel far without his Fender Road Worn Telecaster that has become part of his touring arsenal. He’s quite comfortable taking the lead and jamming out with a guitar solo, showcasing his ability to shred with a bit of country twang coming off those strings. In fact, a lucky young fan holding up a sign declaring it was her birthday was gifted the very Fender Paisley had been jamming on. His guitar slinger ability was super fast as he got into a cover of Van Halen’s “Hot For Teacher.” Other than a couple of covers, the majority of the set list consisted of a steady helping of Paisley’s very best tunes.
As his band jammed out, several videos that played on the big screen behind them for most of his songs; they included a variety of funny video clips ranging from a waterskiing squirrel to Andy Griffith to clips from an upcoming Paisley “Shark Week” special that even included a nearly lifelike Carrie Underwood appearance. If you weren’t a fan of country music but happened to be at the concert, you came away appreciating Paisley’s masterful guitar skills that can be appreciated by any rock and roll fan. Perhaps one day we will see a crossover rock song from the guitar virtuoso that showcases his talents.
Opening the night were Kameron Marlow and Jimmie Allen. A steady smiling Marlow entertained the early arrivals as they settled in, seeking a break from the heat. The 30-minute set included a blues-inspired set of guitar jams that got many out of their seats and dancing in place. This is Marlow’s first-ever tour; he seemed quite grateful for the opportunity to tour with a superstar.
We certainly can’t overlook Jimmie Allen’s performance. For one thing, he came dressed for the part, decked out in sparking jeans, gold boots, and a giant Charlie Daniels-type belt buckle. It was clear he was the star on stage. We can expect great things to come from this new star; clearly he has the ability, talent and showmanship to capture an audience.
Brad Paisley’s setlist from Saturday night’s show at iThink Financial Amphitheater:
1. “City of Music”
3. “Freedom Was a Highway” (with Jimmie Allen)
4. “Perfect Storm”
6. “So Much Cooler Online”
8. “Waitin’ on a Woman”
9. “Last Time for Everything” (with “Purple Rain” excerpt)
10. “Hot for Teacher” (Van Halen cover)
11. “Old Alabama” (with “Mountain Music”)
12. “I’m Still a Guy” (with Kameron Marlowe)
13. “Crushin’ It”
14. “This is Country Music”
15. “American Saturday Night”
17. “She’s Everything”
18. “When I Get Where I’m Going”
19. “No I in Beer”
20. “I’m Gonna Miss Her”
21. “Remind Me” (with onscreen Carrie Underwood)
23. “Mud on the Tires”
25. “Alcohol” (with Marlowe and Allen)
Brad Paisley’s Tour 2021 dates:
July 17 — Hinckley, MN @ Grand Casino Hinckley Amphitheater
July 22 — Brandon, MS @ Brandon Amphitheater
July 23 — Tuscaloosa, AL @ Tuscaloosa Amphitheater
July 24 — Alpharetta, GA @ Ameris Bank Amphitheatre
July 30 — St. Louis, MO @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
July 31 — Noblesville, IN @ Ruoff Music Center
August 9 — Canton, OH @ Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium (with Lynyrd Skynyrd)
August 14 — Dallas, TX @ Dos Equis Pavilion
August 15 — Houston, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchel Pavilion
August 21 — Lima, OH @ Allen County Fair
August 22 — Cincinnati, OH @ The ICON Festival Stage at Smale Park
August 27 — Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park at Walnut Creek
August 28 — Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
August 29 — Virginia Beach, VA @ Veterans United Home Loans Amphitheater
September 10 — Chicago, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
September 11 — Clarkson, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
September 23 — Doswell, VA @ After Hours at The Meadow Event Park
September 24 — West Springfield, MA @ Court of Honor Stage
September 26 — Bloomsburg, PA @ Bloomsburg Fair
September 30 — Sacramento, CA @ Toyota Amphitheatre
October 1 — Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
October 2 — Chula Vista, CA @ North Island Credit Union Amphitheatre
October 7 — Albuquerque, NM @ ISLETA Amphitheatre
October 8 — Phoenix, AZ @ Ak-Chin Pavilion
October 9 — Irvine, CA @ FivePoint Amphitheatre