Monday, June 25, 2007
Flip Flop Summer Tour at Lincoln Financial Field
Well, this past weekend was pretty interesting for me. I went to the Flip Flop Summer Tour concert in Philadelphia at the Lincoln Financial Field, the stadium where the Eagles play.
This concert, headlined by country superstar Kenny Chesney was completely sold out- over 50,000 people!
I have never been to what I would call a "New" Country concert before, but this was pretty incredible to see. When we showed up, we walked through a tailgate that must have been a 1/2 mile outwards from the venue. Booze and BBQ! A lot of female fans as well. Unlike the indie music scene I frequent, this crowd included whole families from children to grandparents. I also appreciated that they were unpretentious- no one was there to be cool; they were there for a good time.
I had never really heard the music by any of the acts on the bill. I really enjoyed opened Pat Green. I was lucky to be on the stage at the side during his set. He did a pretty awesome cover of Springsteen's "Atlantic City".
My friend, Brandon, who plays keyboard for Sugarland, told us he was a huge star in the Texas country scene, which is almost like another world to itself. It's where Joe Ely, a country musician I'm a huge fan of, is a huge act, but he has not quite crossed over to the mainstream Nashville scene.
I was also lucky to be right up to see the band Sugarland during their set. They had a lot of energy, and lead singer Jennifer Nettles was beautiful and brassy. It was pretty cool seeing my friend, Brandon on stage with the band. I played in one-shot experimental band with him in college! Crazy!
I guess Kenny Chesney is like a Jimmy Buffett for the country crowd, and clearly everyone was at the show to see him. When he came out, he popped up out of a stage in the center of the field, and everyone went nuts. This is the response I've only seen with shows like the Rolling Stones, and I felt odd because, I didn't know any of his songs.
New Country is a lot more like pop-rock than people outside of the scene are willing to admit. Sure there's a little more of an accent, maybe a fiddle or two, but the music at it's heart is rock and roll. While I still prefer singer-songwriter types like Willie Nelson, Townes Van Zandt, and Gillian Welch, I have to admit, you have to respect this scene that fills stadiums. Indie music needs to have multiple stages with 40 acts to do the same.