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Concert review: Brad Paisley and friends

blog by Kathryn Przybyla  • 

It’s hard to have a bad night when this many musicians are in town to entertain.

What was billed as a Brad Paisley show, could just have easily been re-named the Darien Lake country music festival with additional appearances by Scotty McCreery, The Band Perry, Love & Theft, Jana Kramer and Kristen Kelly all gracing the venue.

Continuing on Paisley’s “Virtual Reality tour,” three openers warmed up the tailgating crowd with a side stage located by the concert entrance. Named the “Virtual Opry Stage.” Kristen Kelly, Jana Kramer and the duo, Love and Theft all entertained fans before the real show went down.

Scotty McCreery

American Idol winner, Scotty McCreery started the main show with a great set. This is a huge opportunity for McCreery to be sharing the stage and a national tour with Paisley—although pranks come with the territory. Paisley, a known troublemaker is fond of playing little tricks on performers he shares the stage with. McCreery, who took a fall off stage earlier in the tour was greeted with caution tape and orange cones surrounding his platform.

Up next for the show was huge fan favorite, The Band Perry.

The Band Perry

Opening the show with the up-beat, “Hip to My Heart,” the siblings (Kimberly, Reid and Neil) got the entire crowd up out of their seats. The group played all of their top singles including “If I Die Young,” “All Your Life,” “You Lie” and “Postcard from Paris.”

In between their hits, The Band Perry belted out a few covers of Tom Petty’s “Free Fallin’, Queen’s “Fat Bottomed Girls” and FUN.‘s “We Are Young.”

One fun part of their set? When Brad Paisley pranked the trip, by playing a “Doodlebops” video behind their opening song—whom Paisley is convinced they actually are.

Then it was time for the main attraction.

After this show, there is no denying how talented of an entertainer this guy is. Paisley, opened the show with “Camouflage,” giving just a taste of the effects that this “Virtual Reality” show was going to bring. A sheer screen hung in front of the entire stage, where lasers and images were projected, creating a 3D image effect.

“We’ve got a few surprises for you guys, tonight,” and he wasn’t kidding. During “This is Country Music,” Paisley brought out six local servicemen and women, with the crowd howling in support. Scotty McCreery came out for another song, adding his vocals to “Celebrity,” something the young singer knows a lot about.


Paisley was great interacting with the crowd, even grabbing a fan’s camera halfway through “Loved You Then” exclaiming, “Let’s make a movie here.” He shot himself singing, the crowd and even the fans who were clapping along—that is Youtube gold.

Kimberly Perry came out again to sing the female vocals to “Whiskey Lullaby,” originally done by Alison Krauss. Lots of cool and unexpected additions to the show pleased fans, but there was one surprise no one was prepared for.

The crowd went wild when the first few chords of “Remind Me,” Paisley’s duet with Carrie Underwood started playing. Coming on from center stage, Underwood emerged in front of the huge screen and was projected on to the side video boards. Only, it wasn’t her—it was the most realistic hologram of a singer I have ever seen!

Sitting 10 rows from the stage, even I was questioning my judgement and it was possible that the real singer might have made a stop at Darien Lake on tour. This was taking the whole “Virtual Reality tour” to a whole other level. Paisley and Underwood even interacted seamlessly, looking at each other on the video boards, with a perfectly planned virtual choreography. Incredible, to say the least.

Not one to leave those on the lawn hanging, Paisley also decided to make a trip out to the sound board in the back of the venue, and finished up his song, “Everything To Me.”

After this show, I’m thoroughly convinced that Brad Paisley is one of the top guitar players of our time. Just sitting in front of a microphone along with an amped up band doesn’t cut it by his standards. His insane guitar solos and spots in between the music are a sign of his veteran status in not only the county world, but the entire music industry.

Numerous times, Paisley thanked the crowd for spending their hard-earned money on coming to see this show. He was going to make sure that they got their money’s worth and then some. Honestly, he couldn’t have done a better job. With six live performers, virtual holograms, laser lights, surprise duets and live music that played from 4 to 11 p.m., Saturday night at Darien Lake was a treat.

Ending the show, Paisley sent fans home after an encore of “American Saturday Night” the only way he knew how—“Don’t get arrested on your way out, now!”

TAGGED: brad paisley, concert review, country music, darien lake, hologram, jana kramer, kristen kelly, love and theft, scotty mccrerry, the band perry

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