Alan Jackson Proves He’s a ‘Small Town California Man’
Alan Jackson brought his kind of country music to Southern California this past weekend. The tour kicked off in Sacramento November 4, before heading to Los Angeles’ Nokia Theater November 6. Alan took the Nokia stage to deafening cheers and a standing ovation with his set opener, ‘Gone Country,’ before singing the summer-anthem ‘Summertime Blues.’
“We’re glad to be here to play you some country music,” Alan told the crowd. “For some reason, people don’t think there are any country music fans in this state.”
The aisles were crowded by dancing couples as Alan moved on to ‘Livin’ on Love,’ with family photos playing on the big screens. “After I moved to Nashville, my wife and I would go back to Georgia,” Alan recalled. “Her brother would say, ‘I’ve got a song title for ya. It’s ‘I’m in Love With You, Baby and I Don’t Even Know Your Name.’ Every time I went home, he would say that. Finally I got aggravated and I went back to Nashville and wrote ‘I Don’t Even Know Your Name.'”
Alan made sure to acknowledge his current geographical location, throwing in a ‘California Man’ or two into ‘Small Town Southern Man,’ which the audience sang back unprompted.
“It’s been ten years since I wrote this song,” Alan said somberly. “My dad passed away and I wanted to write something for him.” The music video for ‘Drive (for Daddy Gene)‘ played in the background, as Alan sang the No. 1 hit.
The theater came to a standstill as the legendary singer played his emotional September 11-anthem ‘Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).’ After a brief moment of silence, Alan lifted the spirit of the room with the uptempo, yet appropriate, ‘Don’t Rock the Jukebox.’
“It all started with this song,” he explained as he took a seat. “It wasn’t my first song. The first one to come out didn’t do good, then my wife came home and said she was pregnant with our first child, so I thought if the next one doesn’t do anything, I’ve got to get a job. This did pretty good and I didn’t have to go back to work.” The audience then welcomed Alan’s career-changing ‘Here in the Real World.’
He followed with ‘Wanted‘ and an abbreviated version of ‘Chasin’ That Neon Rainbow,’ before singing his current No.1 with the Zac Brown Band, ‘As She’s Walking Away,’ with the help of his guitarist and backup singer.
‘Remember When,’ led into ‘Good Time,’ ‘Country Boy‘ and crowd favorite ‘It’s Five O’clock Somewhere.’ The screens turned to Southern California scenes — from Rodeo Dr. to the Hollywood sign — as Alan went into ‘Where I Come From‘ to end the show. After a short intermission, Alan returned with ‘Mercury Blues‘ but only got through a few bars as he began signing autographs for his adoring fans.
The Band Perry kicked off the second stop on the tour, entering during a voice-over of the trio explaining how their father had “rocked us to sleep with the Rolling Stones and Mama woke us up with Loretta Lynn.” Those influences were present as the sibling trio launched into ‘You Lie,’ followed by their debut single ‘Hip to My Heart.’ Next up was ‘Independence,’ which included a few lines of Tom Petty‘s ‘Free Fallin’‘ before going into their current Top 10 hit, ‘If I Die Young.’ The CMA Vocal Group of the Year nominees ended their set with ‘Quittin’ You‘ and exited to a standing ovation.
Chris Young was out next with ‘That Makes Me,’ which he followed up by saying, “I think I like hanging out in L.A.” Then he sang ‘Voices,’ ‘Small Town Big Time,’ and the recent No.1 ‘The Man I Want to Be.’ Chris changed gears for a cover of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band‘s ‘Fishin’ in the Dark‘ followed by the perfect “college-student song,” ‘Beer and Gasoline.’ Taking from his musical influences again, Chris covered ZZ Top‘s ‘Sharp Dressed Man‘ before dedicating his military-themed ‘The Dashboard‘ to his sister, “who is currently in Pensacola.” Before he left the stage, Chris literally had ’em dancing in the aisles with the chart-topping ‘Gettin’ You Home.’
Alan, Chris and the Band Perry are all nominated for trophies at the 44th Annual CMA Awards, which air live from Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena November 10 on ABC.
The tour resumes Thursday, November 11 in Hildago, Texas, followed by a stop in Cedar Park, Texas (outside of Austin) November 12. Details may be found here.