By Pepper

Alan Jackson brought his “Keepin’ It Country” Tour to the Honda Center in Anaheim Saturday night (April 16th, 2016), noting that, “Last time I played here, I think it was called The Pond.”

Opening the show was American Idol Season 10 runner-up Lauren Alaina, who brought spunk and sass to the Orange County venue, and a preview of her forthcoming album, including songs like “My Kind of People,” “Road Less Travelled” (written with Meghan Trainor and included on her EP) and “Doing Fine,” which she introduced by saying, “My crazy family set me up pretty nicely to write a country record,” and her current single “Next Boyfriend,” for which she brought on stage an audience member named Kurt, who instead of wearing the white t-shirt called for in the song, was wearing overalls, prompting Lauren to change that lyric.

She also included a medley of some of the music from artists who have influenced her, Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!,” Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance with Somebody,” the Dixie Chicks’ “Wide Open Spaces,” Reba McEntire’s “Fancy,” Britney Spears’ “….Baby One More Time,” Beyoncé’s “Single Ladies,” and Carrie Underwood’s “Last Name.”

She wrapped her set with “Georgia Peaches” from her debut album Wildflower, very appropriate for the tour, as it’s a song that name checks headliner Alan Jackson.

Staying true to the name of the “Keepin’ It Country” Tour, Alan’s performance was heavy on steel guitar and fiddles and his signature traditional sound. “People are always surprised when I tell them how many country fans I have in Southern California,” Alan confessed to the audience. “I think I’ve sold more records in California than anywhere else,” earning a big cheer from the crowd.

Fans on the floor held up signs for Alan’s signature: a hand-drawn portrait of the singer, and a sign announcing a wedding engagement being celebrated at the show, as Alan played a good selection of his hits from the past 25+ years, including a few surprises like his version of Steve Young’s “Seven Bridges Road” (which he dedicated to his family in the audience), the Zac Brown Band’s “As She’s Walking Away” (with one of his band members singing the Zac Brown part), and Hank Williams, Jr.’s “The Blues Man,” while songs like “Chattahoochee” and “Good Time” had audience members dancing in their seats and in the aisles.

The local touches Alan adds to the video for “Where I Come From” (at this performance including the logos from Southern California sports teams like the L.A. Lakers, Anaheim Ducks, Anaheim Angels, and L.A. Rams) are always well-received, and a forever poignant moment in any Alan Jackson concert is when he performs “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” and at this show, the song eerily started at 9:11pm.

Alan gave a nod to the late Merle Haggard several times throughout the performance, including, “And Merle Haggard, too!” following the George Jones reference in “Don’t Rock the Jukebox.” A sample of “Mama Tried” was included in an instrumental section of “Mercury Blues,” and Alan finished the show with Merle’s “The Way I Am.”

And from the pleased reaction from the crowd, it becomes clear that Southern California hasn’t “gone” country,” it’s “been” country, and plans to keep it that way.

 

Setlist:

Lauren Alaina:

  1. My Kind of People
  2. Doing Fine
  3. Medley
  4. Road Less Travelled
  5. Next Boyfriend
  6. Georgia Peaches

Alan Jackson

  1. Gone Country
  2. I Don’t Even Know Your Name
  3. Livin’ on Love
  4. Good Time
  5. The Blues Man (Hank Williams, Jr. cover)
  6. Who’s Cheatin’ Who (Charly McClain cover)
  7. Little Bitty
  8. Country Boy
  9. Drive (for Daddy Gene)
  10. Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)
  11. Don’t Rock the Jukebox
  12. Here in the Real World
  13. You Never Know
  14. Seven Bridges Road (Steve Young cover)
  15. As She’s Walking Away (Zac Brown Band cover)
  16. Remember When
  17. It’s Five O’clock Somewhere
  18. Chattahoochee
  19. Where I Come From
  20. Mercury Blues
  21. The Way I Am (Merle Haggard cover)
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