Review: Jake Owen Closes Out ToC Fest 2016 With High Energy, New Tunes
Jake Owen's music is made for good times on warm summer nights — heck, his stage setup features palm trees and two tiki bars — so it was a bit ironic that during his Sunday night (June 12) set at the 2016 Taste of Country Music Festival, a cold wind was whipping across Hunter Mountain ... and it looked like there were some small snow flurries falling from the sky.
Still, Owen's set heated things up.
The country star opened his hour-and-a-half-long set with "American Love," the title track of his forthcoming new album, and, throughout his set, blended brand new songs with old favorites. "The One That Got Away" and "Anywhere With You" came after "American Love," and "VW Van" and "Good Company," two new tracks, followed them. Fans at ToC Fest also got sneak peeks at "After Midnight" and "If He Ain't Gonna Love You."
Just before "American Country Love Song," Owen took a moment to address two tragic events that occurred in his home state of Florida over the weekend: the fatal shooting of former The Voice contestant Christina Grimmie on Friday (June 10) and the horrifying nightclub shooting in Orlando early Sunday morning (June 12).
"[There's] some crazy stuff happening down there," Owen told the crowd. "We live in the land of the free, and it's because of a lot of good men and women. So tonight, let's feel as good as we can feel ..."
During "Yee Haw" and "After Midnight," Owen gave the fans camped out up front a treat, as he jumped offstage and walked into the audience, shaking a security guard's hand and high-fiving, dancing and snapping selfies with the crowd. He mixed in covers of Alan Jackson's "Chattahoochee" and Brooks & Dunn's "Boot Scootin' Boogie," and weaved Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home" into the end of "Alone With You" and Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" into the beginning of "Eight Second Ride."
Owen saved some of the best for last (or near last): He closed out his set with "What We Ain't Got," "Days of Gold," the aforementioned "Eight Second Ride," "Beachin'" and an encore of "Barefoot Blue Jean Night." More than ever, the singer seems to be embracing who he is, where he comes from and what he's been through — themes he's mentioned played a part in his new record — and it was evident throughout his ToC Fest-closing set.
Jason Aldean has been announced as the first Taste of Country Music Festival headliner for 2017, and fans on-site were able to buy tickets over the weekend. Details about online availability to be announced.
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