Wednesday, April 25, 2018
Features and More

Jason Aldean performs country-fried rock for sold-out crowd

TAMPA — Jason Aldean doesn't write his own hits, but man, he sure does have a peerless ear for what's going to giddy straight up the charts. And when he does take a liking to someone else's song, the Macon, Ga., country star leans into that sucker and sings the ever-lovin' yeehaw out of it.

That's just one of the profitable reasons the 35-year-old consistently sells out the 1-800-Ask-Gary Amphitheatre, which he did again Friday for a clothes-averse crowd of 20,000. Aldean may not be an instant household name like beach baller Kenny Chesney, but he's not far off from packing them into ginormous stadiums, too. J.A. throws a sweaty party for sure.

Aldean was joined by super-sized opening act Luke Bryan, whose smash hit Drunk on You has gone "boom boom" all the way to No. 1. Bryan and Aldean own country radio these days, and for very similar reasons. They fall under the country banner, but they know their way around rock, rap and pop too.

In other words, Aldean and Bryan may not be crossover acts, but they play for a new iPod-equipped generation of crossover fans.

With his baseball cap turned backwards, the 36-year-old Bryan, backed by a five-piece band, injected the raucous All My Friends Say with a convincing wedge of Metallica's Enter Sandman, which he uncorked with a devil-horns authenticity. For lap-dance special Country Girl (Shake It for Me), he inserted a quick-lipped rap referencing Vanilla Ice's Ice Ice Baby.

And Bryan's best song of the night wasn't one of his own, but a sing-along version of Journey's Faithfully. A little country, a little rock, a litle nostalgia. Boom boom, country's hottest new star.

Aldean is considerably more traditional than Bryan — and a little less hyper and hammy too. A la the titular hero of opening number Johnny Cash, Aldean cuts an intimidating figure. He might give a smirk here, a fist pump there, but mainly he just stands oak-like behind the mike and delivers the goods.

Communal sway Big Green Tractor gave way to Amarillo Sky. He's not afraid to get mushy on the masses either, bringing Kelly Clarkson along via video for Don't You Wanna Stay, one of the best duets in recent memory.

Aldean's most endearing song, Tattoos on This Town, written by the trio of Michael Dulaney, Wendell Mobley and Neil Thrasher, has a hard rock shell but a heartbreaking chorus; it's wistful enough for the cowgirls, but plenty roughneck for the cowboys.

Aldean's entrance music wasn't something from the country bin but the classic-rock collection: AC/DC's You Shook Me All Night Long and the Guess Who's American Woman. He picked up that thread nicely with filthy-awesome throwdown She's Country, which packs more swagger and grit in its groove than any Nashville hit in recent memory.

And for his encore, Aldean uncorked Kid Rock's hick-hop anthem Cowboy. The crowd stomped their boots and twirled their skirts, echoing back every single word — 21st century country fans saluting their new king.

Sean Daly can be reached at [email protected] Follow @seandalypoplife on Twitter.

Comments
We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

We tried the new restaurants at Tampa International Airport, and we're full

When Tampa International Airport debuted in 1971, each terminal had a newsstand and a snack bar, called something kicky like Snack Bar.
Updated: 4 hours ago
Who’s going to die in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’? Here are the candidates

Who’s going to die in ‘Avengers: Infinity War’? Here are the candidates

On Monday night’s episode of Disney-owned "Jimmy Kimmel Live!," the late-night host asked his five guests promoting "Avengers: Infinity War" who might die in the new film, officially opens Thursday. After all, Kimmel noted, someone has to perish in a...
Published: 04/25/18
The best airports around the country for food and drink

The best airports around the country for food and drink

It was a revolutionary idea: Have travelers’ experience of a city begin when they land at the airport. Instead of McDonald’s and Panda Express, why not have restaurants that reflect the culture and breadth of a city’s offerings? San Francisco Interna...
Published: 04/25/18
Seared tuna salad is quite a catch

Seared tuna salad is quite a catch

A satisfying salad of tuna and beans is a Mediterranean favorite, often served as a meal in warm weather. In my favorite version, the main ingredients — rich tuna and creamy beans — are accented with red wine vinegar, tomato and onion, finished with ...
Published: 04/25/18
Top places to bring your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Top places to bring your dog in Tampa Bay, from breweries to baseball games

Dogs are more welcome in public than ever these days. Bars and restaurants are making themselves more pet-friendly, and you can find weekly "yappy hours" happening at spots all over Tampa Bay. Add to that a healthy number of dog-approved events and ...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Documentary ‘The Human Race,’ which has Tampa Bay ties, celebrates running in 50s and well beyond

Documentary ‘The Human Race,’ which has Tampa Bay ties, celebrates running in 50s and well beyond

An 80-year-old woman runs half marathons to stay one step ahead of Alzheimer’s. A man in his 50s runs his first 5K. A cancer survivor celebrates her 60s by running the U.S. perimeter.Welcome to The Human Race, an upcoming documentary celebrating seni...
Published: 04/24/18
Time for a skin cancer screening?

Time for a skin cancer screening?

Folks who live in Florida have a special relationship with the sun. After all, this is the Sunshine State. And whether we’ve lived here all our lives or come along later, many Floridians, especially seniors, have had decades of exposure to the Florid...
Published: 04/24/18
Exercise myths persist, so let’s fight them

Exercise myths persist, so let’s fight them

When it comes to fitness, can you tell the difference between fact and fiction? Misinformation abounds, and research is continually disproving it. Some myths, like "no pain, no gain," are fading away, but there are plenty more that persist. It’s impo...
Published: 04/24/18
Drunk in love with banana bread

Drunk in love with banana bread

I have a thing about bananas. They have to be perfectly yellow, with a light hint of green. And they absolutely cannot have a spot of brown on them. At all. Brown bananas make me gag. My window of tasty opportunity is small, so I love to bake with ov...
Published: 04/24/18
Cooking Challenge: Making a stovetop steak for the first time

Cooking Challenge: Making a stovetop steak for the first time

Raw meat terrifies me. Growing up, I was the kid who avoided cookie dough because it could give me salmonella poisoning. Just imagine how I feel about a slab of bloody steak. So for my latest cooking challenge, I’m diving into the deep end and making...
Published: 04/24/18