Sunday, August 29, 2010

Lady Antebellum Rocks Central Park

(Photo by Carrie)

The country/pop crossover act Lady Antebellum (Wiki page here) appeared on ABC's "Good Morning American Summer Concert Series this past Friday, and Carrie and I were pleased to be a part of the crowd. A big nod of the chapeau to cousin Kris and wife Lori, along with friend Shanna and others for having us along.

Arriving in Central Park just before 6:00 (yes, AM), our crew checked in and made our way into the "VIP" area. The quotes are necessary; "VIP" means you get to stand closer to the stage. Beyond that, don't expect anything extra. There was no "GMA" swag. No breakfast. No interaction with the band. Nothing to complain about, of course. Personally I was happy just to be there.

For me, I loved watching the production process. I loved watching the band go through sound check, and how the whole event would be structured. How they would play as if they had been playing for us all along, when they only began performing - in the MIDDLE of a song - just as the broadcast went live.

Yet this morning was also about being "pretty." Unquestionably Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott are attractive people and had many fans in the audience. But for me, it's master musician Dave Haywood that is the brains and amazing talent. Oh take nothing away from Kelley and Scott. My goodness they can sing - gorgeous harmonies and such, but I fear that if they don't keep their heads together, their egos will take over. Scott loves doing her thing in five inch heels (of which we saw two different pairs), and Kelley was able to work the stage occasionally showing his boxer briefs off.

Impressive, I guess. Just play music, please. That's where Haywood comes in.

Please don't get me wrong. Scott and Kelley played to the crowd, and I spied Scott backstage chatting with some visitors, including a young person in a wheelchair. But what struck me about Haywood was that, besides being a good musician (and leading a very tight backing band), he seemed like the most genuinely nice person, even stopping to take a few pictures following the performance. He would have come back for more, had the security staff not shooed us all away.

Side note, and pardon the language, but is "be an asshole" part of the job description for security guards? I get it - you need (or want) us to leave. If no one is giving you problems, could you maybe not be obnoxious about it? Just saying.

Oh, and I'm not even sure who the two people that served as GMA's talent was (besides continuing in the "pretty" category) but perhaps you could come off as a little less phony and maybe even know how to pronounce Lady A's most recent smash album?

The warm up comedian (Tom Kelly) was decently funny.

Some video for ya. The band did a lot of practice on "Our Kind of Love" during sound check. This is the performance that aired live.

After the the live show ended, the band regrouped for a special webcast version of the gorgeous "Need You Now." I think we've all felt this at one time or another. Look for Carrie around 1:22. She is taking a picture behind a young girl who is singing. If you stop and look carefully, the side of my head appears.

The band did three songs in total - "Need You Now", "Our Kind of Love", and "I Run to You." I have to admit, their lyrics hit close to home, and I think Carrie would agree.

By the way, this band has got some rock chops, and that's why I'm not so quick to brand them as pure country. They are...wait for it...a little bit country and a little bit rock and roll (jeez that was just too easy). Check out this video of them from London doing Radiohead's "High and Dry."

To further the point, Charles Kelley spoke of the ink on his arm (aka, his tattoo). Now while I'm not into tatts, I have to say, you get my attention when you say it's a Beatles reference. A quick look at the setlist from that recent London show finds that the band closed the show with "Hey Jude."

I'm so glad Carrie and I went to this show after some considerable discussion. Overall it was an outstanding, and different experience for both of us, and time with Kris and company is always good. Plus, while I always favor "older" country to "newer" country, this does make me want to broaden my horizons just a little bit more. Moments like this are good for me. Sure, I'm a rock guy - first and foremost - but I love so many different types of music. This will really a big thrill.

I haven't loaded Carrie's pictures onto my Flickr page yet (I've yet to ask for her permission) but always feel free to visit the page for updates. I have more goodies to add anyway!

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