He is billed as the Hardest Working Man in Country Music. You only have to go to one of his shows to know how accurate that introductory line is. The way Aaron Tippin bounced across the stage at Niswonger Performing Arts Center in Greeneville, Tenn., last night – you might have thought he was part kangaroo. Those of us who were seeing Aaron for the second, third or fourth time, knew this was a high-energy artist, who has not slowed down at all during his 20 years on stage.
Everyone in the audience was familiar with the songs Aaron sang. We’ve all been listening to him on the radio, and buying his albums for years. But when you see him on stage, you get a look at everything Aaron Tippin does. He does much more than sing. He tells stories, he talks to his audience, he acts out and demonstrates the lyrics in his songs and the words in his stories. While doing all this, Aaron is so natural, so easy going, so genuine. He is as well-rounded an entertainer as you will ever see on any stage anywhere.
We heard stories about his early days in the music business, about his Dad, about his hobbies, about his friends, about his wife, and about his shows for the USO, his love for this country and our military personnel who serve to protect us. One part of the show I waited for was a surprise to first-time Aaron Tippin concert-goers. I waited for him to build a bicycle on stage, while he sang “Working Man’s Ph.D”. He didn’t disappoint.
Aaron has been doing this at every show for a very long time. Since he started this tradition, he has assembled more than 1,000 bicycles on stage. After he completes the bicycle, he gives it to the venue, or the host, or whoever he can – with their promise to make this the first toy donated to the area Toys for Tots campaign the next Christmas. Actually, Toys for Tots, or whatever charitable organization they might have in that area, to make Christmas better for the children who live close by.
Aaron Tippin loves what he does. He sings, he jumps, he entertains. And, he really cares about his fans. I have been going to concerts for more than 50 years. I have met just about everyone in country music. Aaron Tippin sits at the top of my list of artists who really seems to want to spend time with his fans. The Meet and Greet before the show was like the other Aaron M&G’s I have been to. He doesn’t sign a picture, let you shoot a photo, and send you on your way. He lets you talk to him. If you have questions, he answers them. When he asks you how you are, he isn’t just asking to be polite. He really wants to know. I haven’t seen this man for at least three years. I told him we had met a few times before. He said he remembered. I can’t imagine how many people he has met during that time. If he really remembered me, I think that’s awesome. If he didn’t really remember me, that was a very nice thing for him to say.
His Meet and Greet was more like a social gathering. It was a great opportunity for us to get to know him (off stage) just a little better. He announced from the stage that he would be out at the merchandise table to sign autographs and meet everyone after the show. There was a very long line. I have no way of knowing how long he had to stay to make sure everyone got that autograph, but I know he enjoyed doing it.
It’s been said that ‘always leave the audience wanting more’ is the true goal of entertainers. If that’s an accurate statement, Aaron Tippin accomplished that goal last night. Every person in that audience would have stayed for as long as Aaron wanted to sing. He left me wanting more. I will be keeping an eye on his tour schedule to find out when he will be close enough to me, that I can get back in his audience.
Here are a few more pictures from last night’s show. Now, put this on your list, too. If you have never seen Aaron Tippin on stage, try to do that in the near future. It’s a show you will be talking about for a very long time.
In addition to Aaron’s web site, be sure to visit his Facebook page (and remember to “Like” it while you are there). You can also follow him on Twitter @TippinAaron.
That’s it for right now. I’ll be back soon, with more country music news and reviews. I’ll be spending the rest of the day answering e-mail. Thank you so much to all of you for your great e-mail messages.