After two-and-a-half hours of PRCA rodeo competition, country star Jason Aldean opened the Puyallup Fair with a brawny, boisterous concert that was big on hits and low on bull.
It was the first show in this year’s grandstand lineup, and the Macon, Georgia, native was the perfect opener for a day that began with a traditional cattle drive down Puyallup’s main drag (in which a steer took a wrong turn into a mini-mart on South Meridian Street).
After the rodeo in the grandstand’s infield, concertgoers scrambled across the dirt to the edge of the stage for a show that featured such hits as “Why,” “She’s Country,” “Hicksville” and Aldean’s summer blockbuster “Big Green Tractor,” a romantic tune whose video plays like a John Deere tractor commercial.
Yesterday’s sunny skies and balmy temperatures made for a glorious first night at the Fair. Good weather has followed Aldean across the country this summer. Indeed, everything seems to be going right for the 32-year-old singer-guitarist, who began his professional career at 15, with his mother’s enthusiastic support. As the title of his current album suggests, Aldean’s fast-rising career is “Wide Open” this summer.
Aldean introduced his hit song “Amarillo Sky” by dedicating it to real cowboys and not the “dime store” variety, bringing a big cheer from the crowd, despite the likely presence of plenty of not-for-real cowboys in the audience.
Aldean also paid tribute to some of his rock ‘n’ roll heroes from the ’70s and ’80s, “when rock was still cool” (forgetting perhaps that the Northwest was home to Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains, Soundgarden other bands who found massive success in the early ’90s). Aldean followed his comments with Tom Petty’s “I Won’t Back Down,” whose sentiments underscore Aldean’s rough-and-rumble attitude.
The latter part of the concert featured “Johnny Cash,” the lead single from his 2007 “Relentless” album and “Big Green Tractor” from “Wide Open.”
The grandstand lineup continues with performances by Crosby, Stills & Nash; newsboys, Heart, LeAnn Rimes, James Taylor, Disney’s “High School Musical” and other shows. See the complete schedule here.