LEXINGTON, Ky. — It was root, root, root for Alan Jackson on Wednesday night (July 30) as he and Lee Ann Womack played a minor league baseball park with country fans seated on the field as well as in the cheap seats.
The easygoing entertainer covered all the bases with classics like “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” and “Livin’ on Love” in the lineup, along with newer hits like “Small Town Southern Man” and “A Woman’s Love.” And it’s tough to imagine a better home than a baseball stadium for summer staples like “Chattahoochee” and “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere” — well, except for maybe the lake.
The concert took place at Applebee’s Park, home of the Lexington Legends, and Jackson told the crowd he enjoyed being outside on a cool night during this particular visit to Lexington since he usually plays indoors at Rupp Arena, just a few miles away.
Even with so many lighthearted tunes, the crowd embraced Jackson’s somber songs, too, especially “Remember When” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning).” Kids always get a kick out of “Little Bitty,” but the women in my section perked up when he sang “Like Red on a Rose.” Of course, he can still get everybody — man, woman and child! — out of their seats with an up-tempo boogie like “Good Time.” Apparently, the quickest way to get applause in Lexington is to show the University of Kentucky logo and/or mascot. With a few local snapshots on the big screens during “Where I Come From,” the crowd was fairly quiet until any sign of a Wildcat, and then the place would roar.
Considering that he’s approaching 20 years of consistent success at country radio, Jackson was wise to take a moment during his 75 minutes onstage to express his gratitude to the audience, and more than just a quick comment like, “Thanks for making that a No. 1 song, everybody!” He’s a man of few words, but clearly the music is still speaking strongly to his audience.
Lee Ann Womack has essentially been in the dugout since winning three CMA Awards in 2005. However, she’s getting back into the game with Call Me Crazy, a new album to be released this fall. Despite her time away from the spotlight, she earned a standing ovation from the folks on the field following her 50-minute set. Early on, she competed for attention with an 8-foot-tall beer bottle that was roaming around the audience and handing out free stuff. Showing the slightest sign of exasperation in her facial expression, she said, “I’m assuming you all like what I call real country music,” and offered two of her most recognizable hits, “Never Again, Again” and “Talk to Me.”
About halfway through her set, she delivered a jazzy rendition of “Wayfaring Stranger” and put a different kind of swing into “San Antonio Rose.” Then she introduced her latest single, the melancholy “Last Call,” followed by one of her personal favorites, “Little Past Little Rock.”
Finally feeling loosened up, she grew animated on “I’ll Think of a Reason Later” and even announced “Booty call!” before singing “I May Hate Myself in the Morning.” She didn’t bring a fiddle player this time, but all the steel guitar licks almost made up for it. She concluded her performance with the enduring “I Hope You Dance” and the feisty “Ashes by Now,” and she appeared to be having a ball.