Paisley’s guitar prowess takes center stage

Brad Paisley delights the crowd at Harveys on June 11. Photos/Kathryn Reed

Brad Paisley delights the crowd at Harveys on June 11. Photos/Kathryn Reed

By Kathryn Reed

STATELINE – Brad Paisley was crushin’ it at Harveys on Thursday night.

The three-time Grammy winner had the crowd at the outdoor arena on its feet for most of the 1 hour, 40 minute-concert.

Besides being a singer and song writer, Paisley is a phenomenal guitarist. He and Keith Urban are the premier guitarists in the world of country; and both could hold their own against colleagues in any genre.

His fingers rarely stopped moving across the strings all night. He didn’t interact with the crowd much; instead letting his fingers do much of the talking. Segues from one song to the next were him playing a riff.

The night started with “River Bank” off his 2014 album “Moonshine in the Trunk”. It was the start of an evening of guitar-dominating dynamics. While it’s one thing to hear his songs recorded, the live version is so much richer. His picking is sensational and is what makes his live performance worth seeing.

Brad Paisley is a renowned guitarist

Brad Paisley is a renowned guitarist who uses a variety of the instruments throughout his performance.

Paisley switches guitars – sometimes mid-song – as often as Cher does wardrobe changes. He is the owner of two less guitars after the June 11 concert, though. This is something he is accustomed to. Early on he singled out a little girl in a pink cowboy hat. He autographed it and then later called her up to the side of the stage, handed her his guitar, shook her hand and got a “thank you” from her. Later in the show 7-year-old Cayden was brought to the stage to play Mario Kart 8, which was then projected on the screen that was much larger than the normal movie screen. Paisley and his six-member band rocked out while this took place. The youngster, who set a new top score, walked away with a guitar practically as tall as he is.

It was the diversity of songs that brought the fans out – not his goodwill.

Paisley blends old-style country with quirky tunes like “Celebrity” (about selfies and other narcissistic behavior) and “I’m Gonna Miss Her” (where fishing is his priority and not his woman).

A youngster in the crowd goes home with a Brad Paisley guitar.

A youngster in the crowd goes home with a Brad Paisley guitar.

It wasn’t until he slowed things down with “She’s Everything” that the crowd sat down. The ballad showed his sentimental side.

He saved the love song “Then” off the 2009 “American Saturday Night” album for his first of two encores.

Brad Paisley and Justin Moore use a fan's phone to take a selfie.

Brad Paisley and Justin Moore use a fan’s phone to take a selfie.

Mickey Guyton and Justin Moore, the two opening acts, each sang a duet with Paisley. It won’t be surprising if one day each is a headliner on this stage.

The only disappointment was how few people were in attendance at the 7,500-seat venue. Considering Paisley sold-out the 17,000-plus seat Hollywood Bowl and filled the 20,000-seat Sleep Train Amphitheater in San Diego earlier this month, it’s not about his popularity. Maybe it was the fact the Warriors were playing or that Paisley has now been here three of the last four years.


Future concerts at Harveys:

July 3  – Aerosmith

July 18 – Imagine Dragons

July 21 – Train, opening are The Fray/Matt Nathanson

July 22 – Kenny Chesney, opening Chase Rice

Aug. 7 – Jackson Browne

Aug. 8 – Elton John

Aug. 13 – Slightly Stoopid, opening are Dirty Heads/Stick Figure

Aug. 23 – Dierks Bentley, opening are Kip Moore/Maddie & Tae/Canaan Smith

Sept. 5 – Sammy Hagar and the Circle, featuring Michael Anthony, Jason Bonham and Vic Johnson

Sept. 9 – Dave Matthews Band.


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