Last updated on August 29th, 2023 at 12:47 pm
Texas native and former The Voice contestant Corey Kent started out the hot and steamy night at the outdoor amphitheater. Kent’s short set included an underpowered cover of The Beatles “Come Together,” finishing with his big hit “Wild As Her.
Mitchell Tenpenny was next on stage, and his set felt completely different, with his voice commanding attention as the crowd settled into their seats. Tenpenny’s set was smooth sailing, getting a smattering of oohs and ahhs as he talked to the audience about his ex: “If you stop talking about me, I won’t tell them the truth,” leading into his hit song “Truth About You.”
I heard from those who caught his show the night before in Sioux Falls, SD, that he curses frequently, and they were disgusted by his show. I heard only one curse word myself until his final tune of the night, “B******.” All the cursing in that wouldn’t be so bad if the song were any good.
16,000 fans finally got what they wanted as Jason Aldean hit the stage, opening with “Tough Crowd,” “When She Says Baby,” and “Tattoos On This Town.”
Aldean took the sold-out crowd on a journey through partying, drinking, and anything “small town.” He loves that topic, which is odd considering he is from Macon, GA, with a population of around 100,000 people.
Aldean raised a toast to the crowd, drinking a shot of tequila before the hit song “My Kinda Party.” Many crowd members instead opted for water, given the hot and humid temperature Saturday Night. Treasure Island reduced their price of bottled water to $3, but on a sweltering evening like Saturday, they can and should do even more to keep the crowd hydrated.
Aldean always seems to have a soft spot for ballads, and tonight was no exception featuring hit songs like “Big Green Tractor.” Amidst various disparaging comments on the state of current rock and roll, he played country rock hits such as “The Lights Come On,” “Dirt Road Anthem,” and the final song of the night, “She’s Country.”
But of course, the whole night was in anticipation of one song. Looking through the crowd, you found “Try That In A Small Town” plastered on everything. Some wore shirts that went a step further, with plenty of colorful language emphasizing the point.
Aldean gave Mitchell Tenpenny a run in the cursing department, breaking into a profanity-laden speech on releasing a song about being tired of “BS.” He added that “the song shows what’s going on in our country, and it’s all ****.” The crowd ate it up like candy.
The actual performance of “Try That In A Small Town” felt anti-climatic, although it did get the crowd to repeatedly chant “USA” afterward.
The song and video have clearly evoked a lot of emotion from many parties. Personally, I think the song is just average and rather cliche. Country music has so many small-town songs, including no fewer than 6 of them from Aldean tonight.
Aldean claims the song is all about “small-town values” and not about racism or dividing the nation. I’ll take his word on his vision of the song, even though he didn’t write it. I do feel the discussions it has provoked are generally positive conversations to have. But if you’re asking me to read between the lines, you’re asking me to add another verse to a song that’s already been recorded, and that I can’t do.