Howdy, howdy, let’s get rowdy!
The show’s opening was a bit slow as everybody tried to cram into the Chumash Grandstand Arena — but once Cole Swindell sang his hit song, “Hope You Get Lonely Tonight,” fans were up on their feet hootin’ and hollerin’ and singing along.
Swindell took time to tell the story of how he made it onto the stage. Starting out as a merchandise seller for other country artists, he went on to write songs that became hits for other artists such as Luke Bryan and Florida Georgia Line.
Swindell, who now sings his own songs, was awarded 2015 New Artist of the Year at the Country Music Association Awards.
It’s no secret that this man is filled with southern charm. He made his way into all of our hearts as he smiled and chatted it up with the crowd in between his songs.
Keeping it simple, Swindell stuck to a plaid shirt and baseball cap and very few onstage distractions. It was all about the music.
Swindell ended strong with a song all too close to just about everyone’s heart, “Ain’t Worth the Whiskey.” (In true country spirit, he stopped mid-song to thank all the U.S. servicemen and women who keep us safe every single day.) After that communal jab at all of the exes that aren’t worth drinking over, the crowd was wired, on our feet, and ready for Jason Aldean.
Intermission made the crowd a bit antsy as the entire set was rearranged and carried on and off stage. But the wait was well worth it when Jason Aldean finally made it onto the stage, coming in hot — and I mean literally hot. Flames shot out from the stage, images of fire flickered across the big screens and little fireworks popped all around.
The crowd was quickly fired up as Aldean opened with his first hit from 2005, “Hicktown.” In the song, Aldean sings, “It gets wild, yeah, but that’s the way we get down, in a hick town,” and that’s exactly what happened. The arena was our own little Hicktown and boy, did we get wild.
Whether Aldean sang a fast or slow song, there was absolutely no letdown in energy from the band or the crowd.
Aldean blew through some of his best-known songs, including “Night Train,” “Amarillo Sky,” “Fly Over States” and “Sweet Little Something Like You.” He then took a moment to let the fans in on a little secret — he a rock fan!
As a tribute to his love for rock ‘n’ roll, Aldean sang the Bryan Adams classic “Summer of ’69,” and got the crowd pumped even more.
The lyrics from Aldean’s song, “The Only Way I Know,” which he sang toward the end of the night — “Don’t back up, don’t back down,/ Full throttle, wide open, you get tired and you don’t show it./ Dig a little deeper when you think you can’t dig no more.” — certainly rang true. Aldean put on one heck of a show and never let up.
He closed his set with the song “Burnin’ It Down,” the name of his 2015 tour. That only seemed to get fans more riled up; as he left the stage, everyone began to stomp and yell.
When Aldean returned to the stage for an encore, the crowd cheered and gave a collective sigh of relief because this fantastic concert wasn’t quite over.
“Dirt Road Anthem,” was Aldean’s song of choice for the encore and it couldn’t have been more perfect. Phones, hats, hands and empty beer mugs filled the air as fans swayed.
As fans cheered the show’s closing number, Aldean reached into the crowd to grab a young girl and bring her up on stage. He took off his hat and placed it on her head as she grinned ear to ear.
It was a sweet ending to one darn good night.