2010 The Charleston Gazette Review: Tim McGraw Concert

2010 The Charleston Gazette Review: Tim McGraw Concert

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Review: Tim McGraw in Huntington By: V.C. McCabe

Huntington, WV — Country star Tim McGraw put on a rowdy, fantastic show for the sold-out crowd at Huntington’s Big Sandy Superstore Arena on Saturday night.

Opening acts The Lost Trailers and crowd-pleaser Lady Antebellum were both very entertaining. Anyone wondering why Lady Antebellum won the Grammy for “Best Country Duo/Group” just needs to see them perform live.

Lady A threatened to steal the show with the soaring ballad “Hello World” and a peppy cover of John Mellencamp’s “R.O.C.K. in the U.S.A,” but the evening really belonged to Tim McGraw and The Dancehall Doctors.

There aren’t many modern country singers that I like (to paraphrase one of McGraw’s songs, they’ve put too much “pop in my country”), but Tim McGraw and his wife Faith Hill are among the few. I saw the couple perform in Charleston during their “Soul 2 Soul” tour in 2000, and it was one of the best concerts I’ve ever attended.

But while the husband and wife duo certainly put on a great show together, McGraw is truly in his element when he shares the stage with his beloved back-up band, The Dancehall Doctors.

The familiarity Tim McGraw shares with his band (including West Virginian percussionist David “Meaty” Dunkley) obviously adds to his enjoyment of performing, and that sense of comfort on stage greatly benefits any audience watching these guys play together.

McGraw didn’t have or need any fancy pyrotechnics or gimmicks to energize the crowd. He shook hands, bumped fists, signed autographs, and accepted gifts throughout his set, even sitting on the edge of the stage to be closer to his fans during “Just To See You Smile.”

At one point, he shouted “Man, we’re having a good time! I love my job!”

McGraw and his crew played songs from his new album “Southern Voice,” a cover of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer,” and plenty of old favorites like “Real Good Man,” “Back When,” “Everybody Hates Me,” “I Like It, I Love It,” “Where The Green Grass Grows,” and “Live Like You Were Dying.”

McGraw also played a brief solo acoustic set before bringing out songwriters The Warren Brothers. Something I’ve always liked about Tim McGraw’s music is that he doesn’t just record catchy country tunes, though he’s certainly had his fair share of them. He instead chooses songs that tell a story with some semblance of a moral to them, which is a very rare quality in mainstream music these days.

McGraw has attained huge successes in both the music and film industries, most recently starring in the blockbuster movie “The Blind Side.” Yet the earnestness in his voice and his warm interaction with the audience indicated he hasn’t lost his sincere love of singing or his appreciation for his fans.

The crowd cheered, clapped, stomped, hollered, and sang along for the duration of the set. Tim McGraw provided the perfect, fun distraction that West Virginians so desperately needed after this terrible winter.

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