There are few music venues as magical as Long Island’s Jones Beach Amphitheater. Situated on the water and under the stars, the theater is the perfect setting for a summer night concert. On Thursday, August 3, Brad Paisley returned to the beach with a splash, delivering his trademark humor, ballads and guitar shredding in perfect harmony.
When it comes to country music cliches, the night had them all: drinking, fishing, cheating, first cousin (yes, really!) and the military. However, Paisley delivered each without an ounce of pandering, enthralling the sold-out crowd on singalongs to songs such as “Alcohol,” “I’m Gonna Miss Her” and “This is Country Music.” Paisley’s live show also shines in its visual effects, the larger than life screen complimenting each song, rather than distracting from it. Highlights included special appearances by David Hasselhoff, Alabama, John Fogarty and even Timbaland. There was also a raucous party gone awry during “One Beer Can,” a water-skiing squirrel during “River Bank” and an animated Paisley joining the cast of South Park during “Celebrity.”
While Paisley excels at humor, his tender ballads may be what he’s most known for, and they were definite crowd-pleasers at Jones Beach. The crowd was a rapt sea of cell phone lights during “Today and an epic singalong during “Then.” A highlight in a night of highlights was “Whiskey Lullaby” as Paisley traded verses and impressive guitar licks with show opener, Lindsay Ell.
In addition to Ell, openers Chase Bryant and Dustin Lynch both traded verses with Paisley, Bryant joining in on “American Saturday Night” and Lynch on “I’m Still a Guy.” Lynch is clearly the future superstar of the bunch, enthralling the crowd with his own 45-minute set jam-packed with hits and the charisma of a headliner.
A Brad Paisley concert is nothing if not a party, and this was evident throughout the night, as a pair of bars adorned either side of the stage, filled with lucky fans. After witnessing the show, I have a new life goal: to sit at Brad Paisley’s stage bar. Ah, nothing wrong with big dreams.