Concert Review

Performances by The Band Perry, Rascal Flatts were crowd-pleasers

kleslie@thetribunenews.comJuly 24, 2013 

As part of The Tribune’s coverage of the 2013 California Mid-State Fair, we’re running a series of concert reviews. Below, Tribune staffer Kaytlyn Leslie reviews Tuesday’s concert featuring The Band Perry and Rascal Flatts.

Two country trios rocked the California Mid-State Fair on Tuesday, leaving the audience asking for more up until the very end.

The Band Perry, opening for Rascal Flatts, started the night off with a bang with recent single “Done.”

Lead singer Kimberly Perry led the trio in plenty of hair-flipping choreography as she ran across the stage in a black corset-style top, floral skirt and sky-high black stiletto boots.

Her brothers Neil (mandolin) and Reid (bass guitar) Perry also put in a strong showing, showcasing vocals that weren’t often heard on the band’s records.

Neil rocked a cover of Queen’s “Fat Bottom Girls” before his siblings led the crowd in singing “Happy Birthday” in honor of his 23rd birthday that night.

Songs from both of The Band Perry’s albums made appearances. Audience favorites included the band’s first No. 1 hit, “If I Die Young,” and “Better Dig Two,” the first single off of their latest album, “Pioneer,” which closed the set.

As they exited the stage, screens flashed a giant “Thank You” to the audience almost packing the Chumash Grandstand Arena.

It was plain to see that The Band Perry is plenty ready to headline on their own — maybe at next year’s fair.

The Perrys may have won hearts with their youthful exuberance, but that was nothing compared to the polished performance by 13-year country veterans Rascal Flatts later that night.

Even before the trio appeared, lead singer Gary LeVox, bass guitarist Jay DeMarcus and lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney made an impression.

Before the show, a countdown clock flashed four minutes across a giant on-stage screen.

Then, as it neared zero, the screen showed clips from the band’s top hits across the years, finally ending in Rascal Flatts running onto stage and jumping into “Life is a Highway.”

From there, the trio sped through several of their faster songs, including their 2003 hit “Love You Out Loud,” with LeVox showing off his ability to hit high notes that few other guys — or, for that matter, girls — can hit.

Rascal Flatts really hit its stride, however, with the ballads. From oldie “I’m Movin’ On,” which found DeMarcus singing and playing piano, to their latest single, “Changed,” the band had the entire audience swaying.

Throughout it all, LeVox kept up a steady stream of quips, periodically changing words in the songs to reference Paso Robles or California. He even teased the audience as they attempted to imitate his signature riff at the end of “Bless the Broken Road.”

The night came to an end with an encore performance of crowd-pleaser “My Wish,” which faded into the vastly appropriate “Summer Nights.”

As the last lines of the song ended, Rascal Flatts left the stage, and the crowd roared its approval for a show well done.

Watch Rascal Flatts in concert

Video by Michael Mariant

California Mid-State Fair: Rascal Flatts from California Mid-State Fair on Vimeo.

Watch The Band Perry in concert

Video by Michael Mariant

California Mid-State Fair: The Band Perry from California Mid-State Fair on Vimeo.

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