The best way to describe the music of Alan Jackson would be “casual country”, that is, music you would play while on your boat at the lake, while you were working on your car underneath a shade tree, and perhaps waiting to turn the burgers at a family cookout. All of that imagery and a lot more was brought to life as the country superstar graced the stage of the BOK Center Saturday night.
Also on the bill were recent American Music Award Nominee Gloriana, who provided a decent warm-up set. Thye made no bones about telling the crowd that they were up for the “Breakthough Country Group of the Year” award, and though their set was entertaining and laced with upbeat, positive music, it didn’t sound very original. They are trying to ride the coattails of similar acts like Sugarland, but they need to push more original material instead of music that integrated lyrics from other pop and southern rock songs.
They gave way to the evening’s star attraction, and from the very first number Alan Jackson showed that he hasn’t lost a step from the day when he made it big in country music nearly 20 years ago. He was backed by an eight-piece band and his stage set sported the obligatory big-venue video screens on either side of the stage and a larger screen behind it that not only featured Jackson singing, but imagery from his videos as well.
The easy-going nature of the music fueled the crowd. Songs of note in Jackson’s set were his opening number “Gone Country”, to the slower “Remember When”, and the post-9/11 memorial song “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)”. The song “It’s 5:00 Somewhere”, brought in the vocal talents of one Jimmy Buffet to help Jackson sing the final chorus over video.
Jackson’s amiable style and aw-shucks banter between songs put the crowd at ease, which wasn’t too far a path to walk. Jackson told the crowd he was glad to be back in Tulsa and that he enjoyed playing all over Oklahoma. Oberall his casual style helped make the evening relaxed and fun.
Finishing his set with “Chattahoochee”, and after an encore of “Mercury”, Jackson took the time to start at one end of the stage and sign autographs all the way to the other end. That was a nice touch and a great way for the performer to connect with his fans. It’s not a surprise that he named his album and his tour “Good Time” because one was certainly enjoyed by all on Saturday night.
Photos: Kevin Pyle