A couple anomalies occurred this past week. First, a big name act came to Missoula. Second, that big name act played on a Friday night. Very rarely does this town see major acts come through and when they do, they usually stop by during midweek. So obviously when it was announced that Rascal Flatts would play a concert in Missoula on a Friday night, this town got very excited.
Strangely enough, Mr. Concert himself (me) originally made plans not to go to the show. Not that I don’t like Rascal Flatts but the tickets went on sale in December and with Vegas and Christmas commanding most of my bank flow for that month, I decided it best to pass on splurging on a couple of tickets. Plus, I got to see Rascal Flatts perform that month anyway down in Las Vegas at the American Country Awards. But when a call came from my friend “Money” Mike asking me if I would like to go to the show with him I couldn’t refuse.
Joining Rascal Flatts on their “Changed Tour 2013” was The Band Perry and Kristen Kelly. Sometime early Friday morning the tour’s entourage showed up in Missoula. By entourage I mean about 6 full length trucks and probably two dozen buses. Our whole Adams Center compound and half of the adjacent student parking lot was jammed packed with vehicles associated with the tour. It was nuts. But I wholeheartedly believe that the more “stuff” a tour brings, the better the show will be.
For this concert Mike and I sat up in the 210 section of the Adams Center to the side of the stage. Because we were to the side we could not look directly at the stage so we could not see the backdrop, the main video screen, and the other fancy stuff such as the lights. But one advantage to having our seats was that we could comfortably watch the show and we could see what was going on backstage. Definitely a couple of positives that I am not normally used to.
Kristen Kelly performed first. Before the show I knew nothing about her. After the show I still know really nothing about her. All I know is that she is a tall cute blonde, probably in her early thirties (can’t even find that info on the web) who likes to sing about men who crossed her. As with any first opening act of a concert she played to a less than full arena on a dark stage. She had attitude and personality which was good and the few songs she performed had a good beat to them but she didn’t blow me out of the water. But come on, that is pretty much impossible to do given what she had to work with. I will look for her down the road on country radio.
After Kelly finished and they got the stage set for the next act, that was when the show started. The Band Perry made a thunderous, energetic entrance onto the stage and the energy really never left. Let me back up and say that I am not a Band Perry fan. I frankly detest their most popular song (“If I Die Young”) and have always found them a little too slow for my liking. But they really did make me a fan after their set. Again, I can’t emphasize enough how upbeat and fun their performance was. The lead singer, Kimberly Perry, was a complete fireball out on the stage as she really performed her heart out. Even her band mates, who are her brothers, were fun too. They performed their hits singles with “You Lie,” “If I Die Young,” and “Better Dig Two” but they also sang their lesser known stuff. And of course, with any act that is relatively new to the mainstream scene, they sang plenty of covers. However, the way they performed their covers was kind of cool in that they threw a bunch of songs into one polka melody. Towards the end of the concert they sang one of these melodies with the opening song being “Some Nights.” It worked well and I rocked out to it. Sorry to say that word again but the ENERGY was with The Band Perry the whole time, and it was powerful enough for me to feel it up in the upperdeck.
Mike and I were not caught off guard when Rascal Flatts came on stage because from our seats we could see Gary LeVox (lead singer) getting ready to go on from backstage. Even though his entrance was not a surprise, I got a little bit of a jolt when I heard his voice call out to the Missoula crowd for the first time. His voice is just so distinctive and to hear it live in person was pretty cool. Rascal Flatts took over the stage and immediately started singing hits. After they finished singing their hits, they slowed down into the middle part of the concert and sang more hits. Then, to change things up a little, they finished their show with more hits. I love going to concerts where I know every single song. Sure it is cool to hear a song for the first time in concert and really latch onto it and always have a special place in your heart for it because you heard it first live but I go to concerts to hear the people I like sing their hits. RF delivered in this department. On stage the band was funny. Jay DeMarcus acted as the band comedian and talked numerous times during the show, a couple times doing mini type comedy acts. The band also sounded GREAT live. Gary’s voice sounded the exact same as it does on the radio and all the music produced by the band sounded awesome inside the Adams Center. From the little that I could see, all the lighting and special effects looked amazing.
Just a couple critiques I have of the show. I wish Rascal Flatts got a little more personal with Missoula. Gary never forgot the name of the city and he always made sure to mention Missoula and Montana in the obvious spots but I was looking for a little more. I like it when artists talk about an experience they had in the city that day or when they take pictures of themselves in front of town landmarks even if it is all complete BS or the photos are doctored. I also think the concert went just a little long. I know they have so many hits and I loved listening to them all but maybe they could get rid of the drum and guitar solos and maybe cut out one of the comedy acts by Jay.
When the show finally did end though, it was a great way to go out as both opening acts came out on the stage and performed “American Band” with Rascal Flatts. I love it when everyone on the tour performs a song. Sometimes this never happens and sometimes they do it in the middle of the headliner’s set so they can get bow out early but for them to all perform at the very end was pretty cool. It definitely put the cherry on top of a 4 hour concert.
Mike, thank you very much for the ticket to the show! I can now check off on my list a couple acts who I wanted to see perform live (for full length sets). Time to buy tickets to the next show! Don’t Blink.