Brad Paisley’s Free Concert was Priceless

IMG_4766 (2)“FREE” is quite possibly the most important word in a college student’s vocabulary, so when Brad Paisley announced he was packing up his plethora of guitars and heading cross country on a FREE college tour, I’m pretty sure the cheers of coed country fans could be heard for miles. Naturally, I was logged on to my computer at 12:01 AM on August 26 to claim my spot among the 8,400 local Austin fans who would be crammed into the parking lot of UT’s baseball field on September 10 to watch one of country music’s biggest stars. When they opened the gates, my three friends and I booked it across the lot and somehow, unbelievably, managed to secure a spot at the front of the stage not three feet away from the mic. I knew then that it would be an amazing night!

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Pat Green rocking Texas Country before Brad takes the stage

Since we are in Texas it would have been sacrilegious if Brad hadn’t paid homage to our very own genre of Texas country, so it was appropriate that his opening act was none other than his old friend and Texas Country all-star Pat Green. Pat has been active on the Texas Country scene since 1995, and he hasn’t slowed down since. His song “Home” reached 5th on the country music charts when it was released this year. Pat is loved across the country, but he is especially revered at home in Texas. I mean, how could he not be with songs like “I Like Texas” and “Girls from Texas”? He certainly knows how to work the home-court advantage!

As Pat Green closed his set with “Wave on Wave”, Paisley warmed up backstage along with the Texas cheerleaders, UT’s mascot Hook’em, and his (by my count) eight guitars! At 8:40 he took the stage and his fans went wild as he opened with his hits “Crushin’ it” and “Mud on the Tires”. Donning a Texas Football t-shirt, he worked the crowd and made everyone cheer as he threw up his horns.

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Brad throwing up his horns about 3 feet away from me!

Nothing could put a damper on his performance, not even the 100% chance of rain that fell as he fittingly performed “Perfect Storm” and “Water”. It seemed as though the night could not get any better…but then Brad played a familiar tune on his guitar as he was joined on stage by Hook’em, and together they led the crowd of students in the most epic performance of “The Eyes of Texas” that I have ever witnessed.

From the quirky videos playing behind him on the big screen to his PAISLEY guitars (gotta love a man who embraces real-life puns), Brad put on an unforgettable show! I’m pretty sure the crowd could be heard all the way across campus as every soul at that concert screamed the lyrics to his closing number “River Bank”. I know I certainly had too much fun shouting the line “take a…LIME AND SUCK IT”.

While having a free tour geared toward college students might seem like an odd choice for a veteran artist like Brad Paisley, it was actually a pretty smart career move. With songs like “Alcohol”, “Crushin’ It”, and “Online”, Brad’s quirky sense of humor and social commentary are the perfect tools to reel in a population of young, college-aged fans. The cherry on top is his love for college football which inspired him to launch his tour at the start of the fall semester. His new single “Country Nation” is his theme song for the tour; it names dozens of college mascots, but focuses on how even though we might wear different colors on game day we are still united through country music. With its quasi-patriotic sound, it really is the perfect anthem to bring students together, and it certainly didn’t hurt that it expanded Brad’s fan base in the process.

“We’re Mountaineers, we’re Volunteers/We’re the Tide that rolls, we’re Seminoles/We’re a heard of Longhorn steer…On two thousand country stations/Yeah we’re one big country nation that’s right”

In spite of the criticism Brad faces as he veers more toward the bro-country style, I’m not ashamed to say that I fan-girled the entire night, and my heart skipped a beat when he performed a guitar solo an arm’s length away from me. This was definitely one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended and it was a perfect start to the new school year. So thank you, Brad, for the FREE concert and for just being you. You were certainly Crushin’ It on that stage all night long!

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Yes, Brad Paisley was inches away from my camera lens


Filed under Austin, Blog Post 2, Bro Country, Concert, Country Rock, Texas

8 Responses to Brad Paisley’s Free Concert was Priceless

  1. Lauren Harris

    I am actually super jealous that you were so close to him! I probably wouldn’t have wanted to go if I was in the back but the fact that you were front row is awesome. Being in the first row for any concert is always ten times better than being anywhere else. The importance of a great live performance is key to any artists success. He seemed to have really related to UT students which is what made it so much better. The picture of him in his UT football shirt and hookem horns is so cool and you can tell that he was really excited to perform for us. It was also a smart move on his part to have Pat Green open up for him since he is a well known Texas country singer. I love all of the pictures you included.

  2. Alyssa Buchanan

    I so wish I could’ve gone to this concert. You did such a great job of telling a story about the night while also incorporating facts and tidbits about Paisleys career and background. The fact that it was free and *almost* close to campus, made it all the more enticing, even for those who aren’t huge Brad Paisley fans, or aren’t country music lovers. Also, offering this tour at so many different colleges, smart guy. Everyone that I talked to who went to the concert raved about it, to the point where they all neglected to mention that it rained. Brad clearly has the entertainment factor down, as seen by his gimmicks and the social media overload on the nights he visits each college.

  3. Ginny Montalbano

    I wish I would’ve gone! It sounds like he put on a great show! I like that he personalized it for Texas/UT, which makes the concert all the more exciting and special! I agreed with a lot of your points. I think it’s a good thing that he is evolving with his sound. He wants to stay relevant and his songs are different now, but still catchy! I liked that you pointed out his quirkiness- I think it’s something that keeps him popular with many different groups of people and makes him unique!

  4. Adam Keyrouze

    Wow! This sounded really fun and reading this makes me wish I went even more now. I was sadly stuck inside studying and was not able to attend. You’re completely right about the “free” comment. I heard of a lot of people that went that didn’t care for country music and thats what happens when you start going to college! I heard about this free concert but I didn’t realize it was a full tour of free concerts across the nation for colleges. That makes me like Brad Paisley even more for not getting to greedy and giving people a chance to see a concert no matter their financial situation.

  5. Elissa Killebrew

    I absolutely love Brad Paisley with my whole heart, and I was so sad that I missed his concert (also very jealous you were so close to him). Brad Paisley was actually the very first country artist I liked, mostly because of his song “Whiskey Lullaby.” Of course, I was way too young to actually understand the meaning of this song, but I remember listening to it over and over again because of the peaceful melody. After that I started looking up his other songs and realized he’s one of the funniest country artists out there who can also shred it on the guitar like an 80s rockstar. His humorous songs like “Celebrity” “I’m Gonna Miss Her” and “Alcohol” fit into their own style of country that’s less serious and more satirical – a style pretty rare for country artists to experiment with. Brad Paisley is a great example of what a country artist should be – selfless and admirable. Not only does he have a beautiful wife and family, I can’t think of a single country artist that would give free shows to college students. Brad, you’re one classy guy.

  6. Claudia Boyd

    I should really start looking at what UT has to offer for students, a free Brad Paisley concert…woah. I have tried to go to a Brad Paisley concert before back in Dallas but it was rained out when we got there..huge bummer. I have been to my fair share of Pat Green concerts. I used to babysit for them!! I love both of them and can only imagine how they work together. Your post really made me feel like I was there. Great job and thanks for sharing with us!

  7. Stephanie Sebo

    I would have to agree. I am always missing the cool things UT has to offer on our campus and around campus! I did know about this Brad Paisley concert, but I didn’t act in time to go! I know a lot of my friends went and they said it was awesome. I love going to the Houston Rodeo and seeing all the country singers there, but have never seen Brad Paisley! Maybe he will come back again sometime and give UT another taste of some fun country lyrics to get everyone excited about school being back (and give us a break from college)

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