Brad Paisley, recently named the CMA’s Entertainer of the Year, stopped by the BOK Center Saturday night to throw a party. And what a party it was. Paisley, along with openers Darius Rucker and Justin Moore transformed the BOK Center into a giant honky tonk while showing the thousands in attendance how Paisley won the award.
Paisley’s set, which lasted nearly two hours, was packed full of hits. However, Moore and Rucker were equally impressive.
As the house lights went down, Randy Newman‘s "Short People" piped through the sound system in anticipation of Moore’s set. After his first song, Moore – standing about half a head above his microphone stand, took a moment to greet the crowd. "This is our last show on this tour, and I see the practical jokes have already started," he said with a laugh. "Be ready, I’m sure there will be more tonight."
Moore’s abbreviated set moved quickly as he constantly played to the crowd, moving from one end of the stage to the other. He included "How I got to be This Way", "Backwoods", and a special version of "Small Town USA" during which his father came out on stage and joined him. Moore even dabbled into a little classic rock-n-roll as the crowd sang along with him during ZZ Top‘s "Gimme All Your Lovin’."
The stage crew got one last joke in on Moore, strapping him to a two wheeler dolly, placing a wig on his head and applying a generous coat of lipstick while he ironically sang "I Could Kick Your Ass."
Justin Moore Photos
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Rucker took the stage next and was perhaps the most surprising treat of the night. Rucker, who struck fame with rock band Hootie and the Blowfish, showed his musical versatility as he blended together several songs from several genres in a very entertaining set. He included Hootie and the Blowfish songs "Let Her Cry", "Hold My Hand" and "Only Wanna Be With You" sprinkled throughout his set which included his country hits "Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It", "It Won’t Be Like This for Long" and "Alright".
His cover of Hank Williams Jr.’s "Family Tradition" nearly brought the house down. Rucker interacted well with the crowd, and took a moment to thank them for accepting him while making the transition into country music. Rucker finished out his set saying "since this is the H2O Tour, I think this song fits." Rucker then launched into a soulful rendition of Prince’s "Purple Rain."
Darius Rucker Photos
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
A few minutes later a massive video board was revealed as Paisley emerged from a ladder perched atop a smaller video board and started off with his hit "Water." The video board displayed the music video as lasers stretched from the stage to the far rafters of the building, creating what looked like a multi-colored ripple of water. Paisley greeted the crowd saying "tonight we’re living on Tulsa time, I love this time zone."
Paisley then took off into a nearly two hour set with "Online", "American Saturday Night" and "She’s Everything" before slowing down to talk with the audience again. Paisley told the crowd that this was their last tour stop of the year. "We’re gonna play as long as we possibly can because we don’t want to stop," he said drawing cheers.
"I can’t think of a better place to end this than right here, we’ve had the best year of our lives this year," he continued. "In case you missed it, last week I got some really great news – I saved a bunch of money on my car insurance," he said. "Oh, and they handed me an award too, I can’t do a show right now without thanking you guys for that award, you were the reason I was able to get that."
Paisley got back into the show, saying he was going to do a song that was requested by a three year-old. "I can’t say no to a three year-old, so here it goes, I’ll try." Paisley then started off into the beginning of Beyonce‘s "Single Ladies," which drew laughs from the crowd. He and his band then transitioned into "You Do the Math."
Paisley put on an amazing display of his ability on the guitar as he moved around the large stage and even into the middle of the crowd, sitting on an over-sized diving board while playing to the back of the arena. His hit "Waiting on a Woman" was played as he stood in front of the video board while it displayed scenes from the music video featuring Andy Griffith.
Brad Paisley Photos
Photos by: Kevin Pyle
Paisley’s bluesy guitar licks were on full display, particularly during a very special moment involving a very special guest. Longtime Tulsa resident and the 1973 Entertainer of the Year Roy Clark joined Paisley on stage and the pair played a stellar instrumental rendition of "Ghost Rider in the Sky." Alison Krauss joined Paisley by video for their popular duet "Whiskey Lullaby" before he powered through the remainder of his set that included "The World," "I’m Gonna Miss Her," "Welcome to the Future," and "Then."
Paisley chose "Ticks" for the first of two encore songs, before he was joined on stage by Moore, Rucker and Clark for "Alcohol."
Paisley promised the audience that they would get their money’s worth, and when it was all over it was clear that they did. Paisley’s show was on a level far above many other shows that come through Tulsa. Add to it Rucker and Moore and it made for a perfect "American Saturday Night."