MWL Tour Hits Chattanooga

For those of you wondering what to expect from the CMT Most Wanted Live tour, try this: Pop in your favorite Rascal Flatts CD, crank it to 11 and hire a teenage girl to stand behind you and scream for an hour.

There’s a good reason for enthusiasm, too. After tours with Toby Keith and Brooks & Dunn, Rascal Flatts have become experts in getting folks to their feet — and keeping them there, evidenced by a Sunday (Oct. 5) stop in Chattanooga, Tenn. And with smash radio hits like “These Days” and “I’m Movin’ On,” Rascal Flatts are proving that they’re more than just three pretty faces.

Of course, it’s not their faces that have been getting the band the most attention lately. Joe Don Rooney, who briefly appeared nude in the group’s “I Melt” video, found himself the butt of a few jokes — often from Jay DeMarcus, who’s goofy enough to host a game show, if not an awards ceremony. Besides, the teasing was all in good fun, and fun is the name of the game here, complete with green lasers, pastel blue pianos and golden oldies like “Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll” and “Lean on Me.”

The group opened with the upbeat “Too Good Is True,” managing to incorporate both “Chattanooga” and “Tennessee” twice in less than four minutes. In the 75-minute set, the band gave Chattanooga 26 shout-outs (at least that’s all that could be heard over the shrieking from the young women in the audience), plus 10 for Tennessee. Before the encore, they concluded with the encouraging “See Me Through,” which likely would have been a hit single, if they had released it. Nonetheless, it’s still a crowd favorite, and so are Rascal Flatts, no matter what you think of their polished, pop-flavored music.

With only two albums, Chris Cagle continues to play to the rafters, providing a tip of his cowboy hat to Garth Brooks. The similarities are striking, from the fist pumps to the physique. He also requested a moment of silence in honor of Johnny Cash, followed by his biggest hit to date, “I Breathe In, I Breathe Out.” Cagle also has an affinity for loud songs about being from the country, such as “Country by the Grace of God” and “A Night on the Country.” Somehow, he can also get girls to scream just by pointing at them. Doesn’t even have to say a word. It’s an amazing talent. He also included an oldie of his own, Dobie Gray’s “Drift Away.”

Newcomer Brian McComas opened the show with a 20-minute set, still finding the time to jump on the speakers and fling his cowboy hat into the crowd. He also signed dozens of autographs after his set. And no wonder. With six people in his band and just one major hit to his name — “99.9 Percent Sure (I’ve Never Been Here Before)” — he’s got to afford a new hat somehow.

SET LIST

Rascal Flatts:
“Too Good Is True”
“This Everyday Love”
“I Melt”
“Mayberry”
“Love You Out Loud”
“Old Time Rock ‘n’ Roll”
“Lean on Me”
“Like I Am”
“While You Loved Me”
“It’s Not Just Me”
“These Days”
“I’m Movin’ On”
“See Me Through”
(Fiddle instrumental)
“Praying for Daylight”

Encore
“Long Time”
“Free Ride”

Chris Cagle:
“My Love Goes On and On”
“Play It Loud”
“Laredo”
“What a Beautiful Day”
“I Breathe In, I Breathe Out”
“Night on the Country”
“Drift Away”
“Everything”
“Country by the Grace of God”
“Chicks Dig It”

Brian McComas:
“You’re in My Head”
“Night Disappear With You”
“I Could Never Love You Enough”
“Middle of Nowhere”
“99.9% Sure (I’ve Never Been Here Before)”