Jason Aldean fired up the crowd at his sold-out Nashville concert Saturday night (Feb. 21) at just the right time. Suffering from an unusual cold snap, Music City was frozen over before the “Just Gettin’ Started” singer filled a stage with flames, hits and a legendary surprise guest to help it thaw out.
One of the early stops on his Burn It Down tour, Aldean’s show at Bridgestone Arena was his first headlining gig in the city in three years. The projected turnout had him feeling pumped up before the night even got underway.
“It’s cool to have a sold-out show anywhere,” he said during a pre-show media event. “But to be in Nashville where we have so many friends and family and see how everybody is still excited about us is really special.”
Arriving onstage at the top of a gigantic flaming “A” and wearing all black, Aldean wasted no time jumping into the songs that made him one of country’s brightest stars. Rather than ending with favorites like “Hicktown” and “My Kinda Party,” the new tour lets fans get down to what they came for — singing along, drinking and getting crazy in their seats (in various combinations).
Aldean was happy to help them along, telling the crowd early on, “Tomorrow is Sunday, and I know a lot of people don’t have to work, so if there’s not a lot of drunk people leaving here I’m gonna be really pissed.”
With his black cowboy hat pulled low over his eyes and looking tough, he stalked the stage delivering small-town anthems like “Tattoos on This Town,” “Flyover States” and “Take a Little Ride.” Meanwhile, pyrotechnic fireballs exploded behind him.
Slow jams like “The Truth” and “Burnin’ It Down” were sprinkled throughout, and there were plenty of party songs like “Crazy Town” and “1994,” but one highlight had to be the special appearance of one of Aldean’s childhood idols.
“It’s not a surprise that one of my biggest influences was Alabama,” he said from center stage. “So we thought we’d play a couple of those old Alabama songs. Make some noise for Randy Owen!”
Greeted with a roaring cheer from the crowd, the Alabama lead singer smiled warmly and harmonized effortlessly on “Tennessee River,” clearly enjoying sharing the stage with Aldean’s top-flight band (who are so good, they actually also record with him).
But next Aldean went back to his roots, ditching the band and duetting with Owen alone on a heartfelt rendition of “My Home’s in Alabama.” He said the song was one of the first he ever learned and saluted his dad, who was in the audience.
Other special treats included some new-to-the-stage songs off Aldean’s platinum-certified Old Boots, New Dirt album, like the high-octane “Sweet Little Something,” the slow-turning “Two Night Town” and his next single, the brooding “Tonight Looks Good on You.”
Thanking fans for 10 years of success and reminiscing about the days when he couldn’t sell 50 tickets, Aldean closed the show with a flurry of fire and brimstone on “Dirt Road Anthem” and “She’s Country,” leaving only a flaming mic stand and some acceptably buzzed fans in his wake.