“Red, White and Boom” in Lexington Kentucky

The concert yesterday was a great way to spend July 4th. My daughter got to experience her first concert (she’s been clamoring for that) and she saw a line up of great country-rock artists. I think I was expecting pure country, so the rock covers threw me a bit, but it was a nice surprise.

The rain made life a bit interesting for awhile, but my daughter and I simply got soaked and continued watching the concert. When you have second-row seats in the VIP section, you don’t just jump ship when it rains a little…or even when it rains so hard and so fast that every square inch of you is soaked.

Alex smiles while Tracy Lawrence is on stageAll the artists were good, some were great. Tracy Lawrence was a laid-back performer who didn’t seem to take himself too seriously – even when some technical difficulties that caused unexpected loud “pops” in the audio equipment a few times during the show. Despite that, his crooning sounded as good in person as it did on disk. He appeared surprisingly early during the day, considering his level of fame, but Lexington was only the first concert stop for him in the state on that day — he had a second show in Ashland.

The newcomers were energeticAlex got soaked and attempted to eat soggy nachos. and entertaining. My daughter (who is 10) became immediately star-struck by Canadian, Adam Gregory. This little shaggy blond (with a five o’clock shadow from sometime a couple days ago) did give a great performance. He offered some original songs, including his own “Crazy Days” and pleased the crowd with his rendition of Vince Gill’s “Liza Jane.”

Sarah Johns was definitely a “Kentucky daughter” and spoke as if she were a Casey County native. Her songs were light and upbeat, and she seemed to enjoy performing and interacting (even to the point of playing matchmaker) with people in the audience.

Julianna Houghs offered a solid performance and enjoyed the last set before the rain drenched everyone in attendance.

Bucky Covington onstage in Lexington, Kentucky

When the clouds parted, Bucky Covington took the stage. My daughter (along with much of the crowd) adored this performer from the second they saw him. Not being a person who watches TV in general or American Idol in particular, I didn’t know him. So, when I say he (along with his band who included his twin brother, Rocky, on drums) offered the best performance of the day, it’s not because I’m predisposed to say so. I really enjoyed the sound, his obvious joy in the act of performing, and his interplay with the crowd.

This band did win the prize for the “cockiest” member… the base player. (I’m amazed there was room on stage for him, his ego, AND the rest of the band.) In spite of the bass player, I’ll be buying some of this band’s music just to see if it’s as good in the studio as it was live. Bucky and band demonstrated breadth with (surprisingly) some rock covers… like Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” — WHO expected that?!?!? And they did a beautiful job. I was truly impressed, all the way around.

I may have enjoyed Billy Currington if the sound check had not made the bass (and I LOVE bass) and the audio in general — painfully loud. It actually hurt to listen to his music. My daughter spent his set with her fingers in her ears… I joined her.

The sound issues seemed to be mostly resolved by the time John Michael Montgomery took stage … orJohn Michael Montgomery at Red, White, and Boom maybe we were just too deaf to notice. It was a treat to see this mega-artist so “up close and personal” and to listen to the old favorites. I did notice that the songs I loved most (I’m dating myself now) were not as crisp sounding as the newer sets. I don’t know if his voice has changed in the over-a-decade since their original release, or if he just doesn’t practice the old favorites (Life’s a Dance, Beer and Bones) anymore. By the time he got to “Letters from Home” the sound had improved. That one sounded great! I didn’t expect rock covers from this particular band (Caught in the Crossfire) so that threw me off a bit, but he was the consummate crowd pleaser.

The damp evening ended with a traditional fireworks display and we left a bit early to avoid getting caught in the en masse exit of the crowd. My little one thoroughly enjoyed the day (except for a few minutes during the downpour when she was skeptical about my claims that this was all a part of the adventure and that she should just give into it). I enjoyed it too. Great way to spend the holiday.

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