Jason Aldean has turned from an acclaimed opening act to a legitimate head liner. The draw of Aldean’s straight-up, no apologies delivery of his music was apparent. When the ticket sales were finally counted it was determined that he had drawn the biggest crowd among the country giants that had come through the Shoreline Amphitheater in 2011. Quite a feat for him and talented opening acts Clay Walker and Thompson Square.
Well known country crooner Clay Walker filled the opening slot. The audience got what Walker has been delivering for years. A breezy 45 minute set that featured sing along country and beach balls flying around the venue. He’s both predictable and the consummate professional. If any opening act will get the audience on their feet it’s Walker. “Fall,” got an ovation as did a few other number one hits Walker has produced through out his long career.
When Jason Aldean arrived on the massive Shoreline stage the audience was already on their feet. He quickly turned the huge amphitheater into what felt like a honky tonk in the middle of a small southern town. He’s not a man of many words and the audience interaction was limited at best. But the music spoke for itself. No narration needed.
It really does seem as though Aldean was an opening act yesterday. That he’s appeared in this country super star role over night. Although that isn’t the case, he has painstakingly earned every trip up another rung of the star ladder, Aldean does a great job of portraying that what he’s doing is effortless. The brim of his hat pulled down over his eyes, he ran through a string of hits that left the fans utterly exhausted. The barrage of music was non stop. Some fans had to take a break and sit down during some of the up tempo tunes. Which is unheard of at a country show.
Yes, much of this audience was having a very good time. The party was started, without the help of Aldean’s melody, in the parking lot in the early hours of the day. That same party raged until the early hours of the next morning. And Aldean may have been nothing but a footnote for the hard partying fans on the lawn. Either way when the first notes of “My Kinda Party,” were struck it was clear that a country star had arrived and that every night on the road Aldean is creating just that.