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Brad Paisley Gets Big Cheers, Big Laughs in L.A.

Brad PaisleyWell-known prankster Brad Paisley may have attempted a case of stolen identity during his sold-out show at Los Angeles STAPLES Arena Feb. 19, but he was fooling no one.

“Hi, I’m Kobe Bryant,” he screamed to the audience, as he took the stage. “How are all you Lakers fans?”

Paisley, dressed in a gray Batman t-shirt and black jeans, bantered with the crowd all night, shaking hands, tossing out guitar picks and good-naturedly ribbing the local metrosexual lifestyle. During the testosterone-fest, ‘I’m Still a Guy,’ he stopped before the last verse, declaring he was having a little trouble singing it in Los Angeles: “I see hair highlights and tanning cream and it’s not on the women.”

Brad continues to prove himself just as sure-footed in delivering songs about small town America and the joys of fishing and dirty mud flaps as he is in rejoicing in the melting pot that this country has become in his current hit ‘American Saturday Night’ or in civil-rights advances he’s witnessed in his 37 years in ‘Welcome to the Future,’ a song he took all the way to Obama’s White House.

Furthermore, even novelty hits like ‘Online’ and ‘Celebrity’ wear well past their natural sell-by date because of their originality and strong melodies. Throw in his ability to write a song about a love that only grows deeper with each day like ‘Then,’ and you have the complete package. And the superstar brought all aspects with him during what amounted to a greatest-hits show, coupled with his seemingly boundless energy, strong vocals, and, of course, stellar guitar playing performed on a dazzling array of guitars.

More than any other artist in recent memory of any genre, Brad integrates graphics and visuals into his show to complement every song, without ever detracting from the music. For every tune, images of some sort, many of them designed by Brad himself, played on a screen that extended across the full back of the stage. The highlight was a short film animated by Brad, which was featured during an instrumental from ‘Play.’ The cartoon heralded a country superhero, who looked suspiciously like Brad, rescuing his fellow country artists, including Carrie Underwood, Toby Keith and Reba McEntire from peril. Is there really nothing he can’t do?

The 105-minute show drew its share of celebrities, including Sheryl Crow, Kevin Jonas of the Jonas Brothers, William Shatner (who appears in Brad’s ‘Celebrity’ video) and, of course, his wife, actress Kimberly Williams-Paisley, and her sister, Ashley. Nevertheless, all eyes were on Brad. Toward the end of the show, the clearly exhilarated entertainer told the audience, “To play the Staples Center and sell it out is the most amazing thing. I don’t know how I got here, but I know it’s because of you!”

Justin Moore and Miranda Lambert served as support on the date and both joined in for a sing-along during the encore ‘Alcohol.’ Miranda continues to grow as a live act, giving a spirited high-energy performance in ‘Los Ange-lees,’ as she called it, spunkily running through such tunes as ‘Only Prettier,’ ‘Kerosene’ and her chart topper, ‘White Liar.’ She slowed it down for an achingly beautiful acoustic take of next single ‘The House that Built Me.’

The next stop on the American Saturday Night tour is Greenville, S.C., on March 4.

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