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Brad Paisley’s Virtual Reality review

| June 12, 2012

So how do you get Sox fans into Wrigley Field on a Saturday night in June? Brad Paisley and the Virtual Reality Tour will do it.

On a steamy, but wind-blowing-out-night — the second of two blockbuster evening concerts — Brad Paisley and a host of his pals put on a country extravaganza that outed all the short shorts and cowboy boots in Wrigleyville.

Paisley hit the stage just after sunset, and weaved his way through a two-hour, 23-song collection of observations and experiences. He doesn’t cut an elaborate presence, but uses a stage packed with video screens to help sell the songs. As one of the best axemen in country music, he just flat out pounded it ’til the neighborhood curfew at 11:15.

Paisley’s band has been together for 13 years and includes Chicago native, drummer Ben Cesar. They started with his hit “Camouflage”, in an eight-song suite including a Wrigley version of “Sweet Home Chicago” and a video cameo by Andy Griffin in “Celebrity,” before slowing things down with “She’s Everything.” At one point Paisley disappeared into the crowd and wound up on top the home team dugout for “Letter To Me” and “Mud On The Tires.” He pulled out all the stops on “Remind Me,” a duo with a hologrammed Carrie Underwood that could have convinced anyone slightly under the influence that she was in the house.

Not taking himself too seriously has made Paisley relatable even while he’s one of country music’s highest-grossing acts. “In these tough economic times” he said, “we just want you to get your money’s worth.” Ending the evening with “American Saturday Night” and “Alcohol,” one has to believe that no one asked for a refund.

For all her airplay and awards, Miranda Lambert could take a cue from fellow openers, The Band Perry. She started on fire, by working the crowd and even donning a pink Cubs jersey. But midway through, she brought out her Pistol Annies pals and proceeded to suck the life out of any momentum and killed the party. What works in the night club on Weed Street doesn’t necessarily transfer into arena-rock venues. Chris Young preceded Lambert and cranked out a short set that finished up with his two new hits, “Gettin You Home” and “Tomorrow.” The Band Perry followed Jerrod Niemann with front gal Kimberly Perry showing why they will be a chart topping force for a long time. She returned later for a duo with Paisley on “Whisky Lullaby.”

In this cowboy boot marathon lasting some six hours, one can only hope the Ricketts family continues to win the battle to continue this concert trend. Aside from the long bathroom lines, the setup works, the locals have to like the additional business, and who knows, maybe with one or two more big-bang shows, they can afford to buy some pitching for the club that plays there during the day.

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Category: Live Reviews, Weekly

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