I’m going to tell you two stories this morning. The first one took place a very long time ago. I went to a concert. The headliner was a really big star. His show was phenomenal to say the least. It had to be. After all – he was a really big star.
The opening act was a bit lesser known in the world of country music. They were on a very large concert stage, opening for a really big star, playing for about 12,000 people, and they put on a really great show! Then, I saw that same opening act about two years after that. This time, they were the headliners, at a local fair. Smaller stage, no super star following them, no 12,000 people in the audience… and I guess they just weren’t as enthused about this show, because the performance wasn’t very good. They almost acted as if the fair was a step down in their career.
Now forget all that – because while the story I’m about to tell you is similar, the final outcome is totally different!
Last night, at our Appalachian Fair in Gray, Tennessee, I had the pleasure of seeing a group on stage that I had seen just 15 months ago in Bristol, Tenn. They were the opening act for Jason Aldean at Viking Hall. They were relatively new, with only one song on the radio, but people were starting to know who they were. They had a name that was pretty easy to remember, mostly because it was very different – Lady Antebellum. Their song was “Love Don’t Live Here.” They put on a great show as the opening act in Bristol. They were on a big stage, they were opening for an up and coming country superstar, and they probably had 12,000 people in the house.
Here’s where our two stories get very different. On Friday night, Lady Antebellum was the headliner at the Appalachian Fair. And their show, on a smaller stage, with less people, and no big star coming on after them, proved that true professionals are capable of putting on an extraordinary show whether they are performing on a huge concert stage, or on a smaller fair stage. Lady Antebellum definitely put on a show worth writing home about!
Marc Tragler, from WXBQ radio, must have the best job in the world. He’s been interviewing our country entertainers all week long, and yesterday, he got to talk to Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. The fans got to hang around and listen to the interview. And snap a few photos during the interview. (I hope all of you reading this all across the country took my advice and went to WXBQ’s web site to check out their live broadcasts, via the net.)
Hillary didn’t come out for the interview, she was back getting ready for the show. There was a little six year old boy there watching the interview, who loves Lady Antebellum. When the interview was done, Charles was kind enough to bend down and autograph the little boy’s shirt. Way to go, Charles! Kids remember stuff like that. And it’s just very nice when our entertainers take the time to do something a little extra.
Lady A put on a 90 minute show, did a little walking out on our runway, shook hands with the fans, and Charles even picked up someone’s baby. They sang everything we wanted them to sing, and most of the time everyone in the audience was singing along. This was the biggest crowd our fair had seen all week. The weather forecast had said 75 percent chance of rain Friday – but out at the Fairgrounds in Gray, we didn’t get a drop. It was a great show, and this group really came out and showed everyone why the were awarded Top New Duo or Group by the Academy of Country Music and New Artist of the Year by the Country Music Association. They were also nominated for two awards at the 51st Grammy Awards.
Hillary, Charles and Dave are headed to Bristow, Va., for a show tonight. Then to Raleigh, N.C. on Aug. 30. On Sept. 11 and 12, they will be in Gstaad, Switzerland. I really like these guys, but I think I’m going to have to miss that show in Switzerland. That’s not exactly right around the corner. You can keep up with Lady A’s schedule here.
They were the only act so far this week who did not come out to their merchandise tent to sign autographs after the show, much to the disappointment of some lingering fans. But at least they had some photos and CDs already signed for the fans to purchase. I don’t know about the CDs, but I do know every autographed picture was gone before the merchandise table was closed up for the night. It was really a fantastic concert. They did a great job.
They’ve also just released the first single off their second album. The new song is called “Need You Now,” and The folks over at The CML Chart are already predicting this one will be a Billboard Chart No. 1. For CML’s review of the new single, click here.
All of you who have been reading Country’s Chatter for a long time know what to do next! Just click on “Read the rest of this entry below,” to see more pictures from tonight’s great show.
We have one more night of our Appalachian Fair, and then – you and I have a lot of catching up to do! There’s been a lot going on this week in the country music world. And I just haven’t had time to get any news up here, because I’ve been too busy with the fair. But it’s only one week out of the year, I have to be a part of that! We’ll pick up with the news on Monday morning. For now, that’s all.