Review: Rodney Atkins welcomes delegates, media to RNC 2012 at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg
You'd think the man picked to headline a welcome party for both media and delegates at the Republican National Convention might need to straddle the aisle, politically speaking, just a tad.
Well, to hell with all that. In introducing Cleaning This Gun (Come On In Boy), country singer Rodney Atkins toasted "friends, family and the good Lord -- and the right to bear arms."
Truth be told, though, Atkins did a fine job raising the energy level at Tropicana Field, during the RNC's official welcome party. He played good ol' Blue Ridge sing-alongs like Farmer's Daughter; songs with a little Floribbian flair, like Just Wanna Rock N' Roll; and high-energy foot-stompers like opener It's America and closer If You're Going Through Hell, the latter of which he introduced with a traditional Irish benediction: "May we all be in heaven five minutes before the devil knows we're dead."
With most of Sunday and Monday's RNC 2012 events postponed (like the Camp Freddy concert at Curtis Hixon Park, which was moved from Monday to Tuesday) or cancelled outright (like Lynyrd Skynyrd in downtown Tampa), Atkins was the big ticket in Tampa Bay. For more on the concert and party, we have three reports: A recap from a team including Stephen Nohlgren, Mark Puente, Curtis Krueger, Craig Pittman and Mary Jane Park; another from Eric Deggans on the media presence there; and one more from John Romano about the Tampa Bay-ness of it all.