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Concert Reviews:
Jason Aldean turns DTE into "Crazy Town" on Friday night
 

By Gary Graff
ggraff@digitalfirstmedia.com, @GraffonMusic on Twi

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INDEPENDENCE TOWNSHIP -- Jason Aldean is to country music what Nickelback is to rock -- meat and potatoes, no muss/no fuss, minimal flash but plenty of brawn and a pile of hits to keep a sold-out crowd singing along for 95 minutes.

Aldean kept all those virtues on display Friday night, Sept. 14, as the Georgia native and his five-piece band jammed 24 songs into a spirited and fast-paced 95-minute show. He promised at the start that "we're about to have one helluva party" and delivered in kind, only occasionally taking his foot off the gas and not even taking the usual break for an encore.

Sporting a vintage Bob Seger 1983 T-shirt (the two did a "CMT Crossroads" episode together ??), blue jeans and a cowboy hat pulled low over his eyes, Aldean started the night atop a sloped metallic ramp at the center of his stage before coming down and staying in a state of near-constant motion, prowling along the front and singing from microphones positioned on either side. The in-your-face attitude was nothing new but still potent, especially as he delivered rocking fare such as "Gettin' Warmed Up," "Take a Little Ride," "When She Says Baby," "Johnny Cash" and heavy-hitting renditions of "Tattoos on This Town" and "Lights Come On" -- many bolstered by prepared video footage on a high-definition screen behind the stage.

Even when he did get mellower -- on "Little Miss Sunshine," "The Truth" or the sultry "Burnin' It Down" -- Aldean and company applied a discernible muscle that kept complementary pace with the rest of the repertoire's power.

Aldean did not have much to say -- and, perhaps not surprisingly, made no mention of the Route 91 Harvest Festival shootings in Las Vegas, whose one-year anniversary is approaching. Instead he let his music do the talking ("We want to play as many songs as we can," Aldean noted at one point) and took DTE out rocking to favorites such as "Hicktown," his covers of Colt Ford's "Dirt Road Anthem" and Brantley Gilbert's "My Kinda Party," "She's Country" and the closing "Crazy Town" -- the latter an apt description for DTE by that point of the night.

Aldean's opening acts distinguished themselves with some covers, too. Lauren Alaina perked up the early arrivals with a version of Guns N' Roses' "Paradise City," while Luke Combs slipped bits of Brooks & Dunn's "Boot Scootin' Boogie" and the Eagles "Take It Easy" into his set. Combs, a North Carolina native, somewhat ironically closed with his 2016 hit "Hurricane," though he made no reference to the tropical storm pummeling his home state even as he performed.

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