I never realized just how many Jason Aldean songs I knew until I was singing along to all 24 songs he performed Saturday night as part of his "Ride All Night Tour" stop at USANA Amphitheatre.
Playing one country radio hit after another, ranging from his 2005 self-titled debut all the way though to his current, 2018 album, titled “Rearview Town.” He even debuted a new song, “We Back,” from his upcoming album slated for release later this year.
Two dozen songs is a much-deserved, hefty setlist for any concert-goer and country music fan anticipating live performances of all their favorite songs. The only drawback to that number is the lack of audience interaction time. Sure, Aldean moved seamlessly from hit song to hit song, but without any witty banter, stories or even the obligatory band introduction, there seemed to be a personal disconnect with the audience.
Regardless, Aldean presented a country concert filled with the perfect mix of rockin’ anthems and raucous drinkin’ songs.
With a triangular-shaped stage setup, Aldean and his talented band were flanked by both background and overhead LED screens. The shape proved highly effective for creating a 3-D video background perfect for transporting audiences into the heart of each song.
For instance, the video backdrop allowed Aldean to invite us to “Take a Little Ride” to a rugged, sepia-toned street in an industrial district complete with cranes and old high rises, the centerpiece of which was a large “Jason Aldean” marquee sign. It was a stunning way to kick off the evening.
Then, with nearly every song, thanks to those LED screens, we were transported to a new location -- a small country downtown for “Tattoos on This Town,” an airport terminal and tarmac for “Fly Over States” a hayfield ready to plow using his “Big Green Tractor” and, of course, a hole-in-the-wall Western bar for one of his drinking songs, “Any Ol’ Barstool.”
Ripping through all two dozen hit songs, Aldean had his audience shouting along to lyrics, dancing in the aisles and recalling their own memories triggered by his early hit songs like “Hicktown” and “Amarillo Sky.”
One moment where Aldean stopped and shared a bit of his personality during the evening was when he introduced the duet “Drowns the Whiskey” he performs with Miranda Lambert.
“I thought I’d call her up and see, if she was in town, if she could join me,” he said, eliciting screams of excitement. But then he continued, “Well, she wasn’t here. … My bad.” So instead, Lambert’s pre-recorded video portion of the song was broadcast on the background screen amid images of whiskey bottles.
Aldean quickly squashed any chance for a mid-performance lull by ramping up the energy and rock 'n' roll style even more by performing “Gettin’ Warmed Up,” causing the crowd to erupt in excitement.
Eschewing the notion of an encore, Aldean warned the audience he’d simply play until the entire show was over, and that’s exactly what he did. Wrapping up the evening with songs “She’s Country,” “You Make It Easy” and finally “The Only Way I Know.”
Check out Aldean's full setlist from Saturday's USANA Amphitheatre appearance HERE.