BOK Center Turns Honky-Tonk With Tim McGraw

altTim McGraw, Lady Antebellum and The Lost Trailers lit up the stage at BOK Center Thursday night, the arena went from show-house to Honky-Tonk. 

The BOK has really come into it’s own in just over a year.  It ranks as one of the Top 5 arenas in the nation.  Because of this many of the top acts are flocking to play here.  This trio of acts are no different.  All three bring a country party groove to their set and leave you feeling satisfied with your fix of good time bar music.

The Lost Trailers were up first and while they did a good job of handling the sizable crowd, their set did seem to get lost in the size of the house.  Try as they might it just seemed as though they were kind of over doing it.  A kind of child playing silly games to get your attention.  Don’t get me wrong, they have lots of charisma and talent, it is just easy to see they are still young to this type of tour.  Add that to the immense stage set and you have a lot of ground to cover both figuratively and literally.

The stage itself was a mixture of end stage rectangle and catwalks that made a huge cross shape on the floor.  It protruded well into the halfway point of the arena, some 30-40 feet from the main stage.  Along this were fans right up against the stage itself, so the feeling is very intimate but also very much crowded.

This show like many others in this genre, is speckled with every age of concert-goer.  Of those people there were 2 little girls, I would say 5 and 6 years old.  I am quite sure that they didn’t know it going in but these little fans would steal the show and have more than a souvenir to take home with them.  Call it being in the right place at the right time.  More on that in a little while.

Lady Antebellum came onstage after a remarkably short intermission between acts.  Huge screens played video of someone using Google for different “lady” names and pulled up humorous video spots ranging from Kenny Rogers to Lady Gaga finally settling on the actual band and welcoming them to the stage.  In much the trend of the day, Lady Antebellum is made of 1 lady and 2 fellows.  Why go with Lady Antebellum I have no idea, but I digress.  It is a young, fresh faced group that has fans going nuts and that really is the point after all.  Lady A hits the ground running and doesn’t look back for the 45 minutes they are given.  It is a set of high energy up tempo songs, as well as some slower ballads that pull on your heart.  At one point lead vocalist Charles Kelley pulled the 2 young ladies mentioned earlier from out of the crowd to dance along with him.  Leading them to another portion of the stage and allowing them to dance and sing along during “R.O.C.K. in the USA/What I Like About You.”  This alone would have made any young fans night but unbeknownst to these youngsters their night had just begun. 

Lady Antebellum does a very nice job of working the crowd and making sure that all in attendance feel involved.  From floor level to the third tier it was a solid performance that had those in the near capacity crowd singing along word for word.  “Need You Now” was easily the crowd favorite.  The song about lost love and the strong pull to be back together culminated with Kelley and Hillary Scott meeting center stage to sing to each other.  It was a great set that ended with #1 single “I Run To You.”

Tim McGraw has been in the industry for 20 plus years and continues to build steam with every album he releases.  I was able to see him back in his early days and I must say that he has polished his stage show greatly. 

His show on this night started with the lighting making sounds of shorting out and getting slowly dim to the Genesis classic “In The Air Tonight.”  This gave way to a darkend arena and motorcycle sounds as the curtain rounding the stage served as a video screen to see the infamous cowboy hatted silhouette on his way to the venue.  Stepping off and walking upstairs until you could see the shadow of McGraw standing ready to start the show.  The band kicks in to “Real Good Man” and the curtain drops and the night of hits begins.  Transitioning from “Real Good Man” to “Last Dollar” it is this point when the crowd and these 2 aforementioned little ladies were about to get a huge surprise.  In this song Tim McGraw used his own daughters to add to the end of the song with young voices singing.  Kneeling down in front of these little fans and allowing them to sing the McGraw girls part of the song.  This brought the house to a thunderous ovation and huge smiles to some very lucky girls faces.

McGraw, as I said before has really come into his own as a very solid performer.  Playing to the crowd and having a great time with his band.  During this set Tim made mention of a taping for a show to tribute one of his heroes, Kenny Rogers, he told that they would be taping a song for the show tonight and that he needed to do that song 2 times.  This led into “She Believes In Me” done very well and both times to huge cheers.  He then added, “While we have the cameras, would it be okay if we shot a video tonight for our new single?  We will have to do it two times also.”  As if it was going to matter, a chance to hear one of the new songs, “Still” and possibly be in a video only caused louder cheers.

McGraw is truly in his element in front of an audience and makes the most of his time there.  Using it to tell stories of himself and his family as well as play some very good party music and soft ballads that point to hope and love.  He did a very good job with covers of “Much Too Young To Feel This Damn Old” which he said, “you have to do a Garth Brooks song if you play in Oklahoma, right?”  He also did a country-fied version of Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer.”  These songs definitely added to his very long set that went from hit to hit with some new songs thrown in for good measure.  Ending the night with two of his biggest songs to date, the mega-hit and crossover smash, “Live Like You Were Dyin” and “The Cowboy in Me.”

The night was filled with surprises and incredible entertainment.  Get out and see this grouping of artist while you can, either together or on their own.  You will not be disappointed.


Photos by: Kevin Pyle


About the writer:
Ernie Osborn is a California transplant that has been around the music business much of his life. He has been in bands and currently plays guitar and sings when called upon to do so. He also writes articles in the Tulsa Speaks section entitled, “Whatever Happened To…”  check it out.