Country music star Brad Paisley captivated the Save Mart Center Friday night on the second stop of his 2018 “Weekend Warrior” world tour.
The night began at 7 p.m. sharp with opener Lindsay Ell, who was a nice addition to a completely male lineup. Paisley brought her back later in the night to perform his song “Whiskey Lullaby,” originally a duet with Alison Krauss. As Ell left the stage, Paisley called her the future of country music.
Ell’s set of about 15 minutes was quickly followed by Chase Bryant, who performed a 25-minute set. He was brought back during Paisley’s set as well to perform Paisley’s song “American Saturday Night.”
The third opener, and by far the best, was Dustin Lynch. He went on at 8:10 p.m. and immediately brought the crowd to its feet for an entire 45 minutes, performing some of his hits like “Mind Reader,” “That’s Where It’s At” and “Small Town Boy.”
And then, at 9:15 p.m., the house lights went dark and the stage lit up with red lights as the theme song to the Netflix series “Stranger Things” began playing. Paisley appeared onstage just as the title of his opening song “Last Time for Everything” appeared on the jumbo screen behind him. It was written in the recognizable “Stranger Things” font.
Just before his second song, Paisley cut his hand and gestured for help before immediately jumping into the second song, “Online.” Toward the end of the song, a crew member came out with disinfectant and poured it onto Paisley’s hand while he sang.
Once the song ended, Paisley said he needed a moment to patch up his hand and did so right there on stage. He was back to playing his guitar in less than a minute. He handled it like the veteran country musician he is.
From there on, things went smoothly, and Paisley gave a few memorable moments to his fans:
- A fan pulled up a picture of Peyton Manning on a phone, and Paisley took it and showed it to the audience, proceeding to reference his brand deal alongside Manning with Nationwide Insurance by singing the Nationwide jingle.
- Paisley gifted a brand new guitar, signed by him, to a young boy in the crowd.
- A woman held a handmade poster that said, “Can I check you for ticks?” – a reference to Paisley’s song “Ticks.” As he performed the song, he took her poster, wrote “NO” on it as he sang and showed the crowd. He then signed the poster and gave it back to her.
- Paisley brought Lynch back and as they performed Paisley’s “I’m Still a Guy,” Paisley took an audience member’s phone, asked if he could look through her Instagram and then took video of him and Lynch singing for her Instagram.
Paisley made sure the audience felt involved (he was constantly moving from one end of the stage to the other), happy (he has an enjoyable sense of humor and got many laughs from his jokes) and entertained (he performed a wide variety of his hits, including “Then,” “Waiting on a Woman” and “Mud On The Tires”).
He even commented on California country music listeners multiple times: “You guys are California country fans. There’s nothing cooler.”
The night ended with Paisley bringing out Ell, Lynch (donning a Fresno State football helmet) and Bryant once more to perform his song “Alcohol.”
Paisley has remained relevant in country music for almost two decades, and after seeing him live, it’s clear why. He’s energetic, funny, caring and most of all, incredibly talented.