By Faith Parker
Recently, country music singer Brad Paisley took the crowd by storm on the last stop of his summer long H2O II Tour. When fans enter the Susquehanna Bank Center in Camden, NJ they were soon informed that the 4pm show would not start until 6pm due to a late arrival of the main act. The fans were then forced to spend the two hour gap waiting in line or tail gating in the torrential rains.
Once the show was underway, fans were surprised by two opening acts that were supposed to be held in a tent near the outdoor concession area of the venue. The Jane Deere Girls and Sunny Sweeney prepared the crowd for the two bigger acts ahead of them. Many members of the crowd used these acts for grabbing a beer or seat hopping to a better location for the main events. The crowd only joined in singing with these two acts for each of their hit songs, but even Sunny Sweeny’s “From a Table Away” had only a few fans within the sea of cowboy hat wearing crowd members.
The closer the main opening act, the more filled seats became. The aroma of beer began to replace the cold damp air and soon the lights dimmed. With an explosive set of bright lights and a loud burst of music, the crowd welcomed opening act Blake Shelton to the stage. He entered the stage in a white and blue flanneled shirt and a tight pair of blue jeans. He worked the predominantly female crowd by singing hits like “Honey Bee”, “God Gave Me You”, and first ever hit “Austin”. Shelton used very little tools and props to perform, but nonetheless the crowd still hooted and hollered for him. He is perhaps one of the only performers that I’ve seen who is still incredible even though the main perform appeared drunk on stage. First time country concert goer, Katie O’Donnell told Stroud Courier reporters, “Blake Shelton has totally stolen my heart with his performance tonight.”
By 9pm Shelton had finished and the venue was finally packed. The crowd took their final bathroom breaks and beer runs and eagerly awaited Paisley’s performance. As soon as the lights once again dimmed, silence filled the Susquehanna Bank Center. It was as if the crowd held their breath. Then a flash and a loud boom of fireworks lit up the stage. The crowd’s roars shook the Earth at the sight of Mr. Paisley himself. He was found working his way through the sea of fans in reserved seats, making hand he touched, a fan’s dream come true. He rocked the crowd for two hours straight.
Paisley is known for making his shows enjoyable for fans in all seats, even the ones who are so far away that they can’t tell where he is on stage; show was no exception. His gigantic movie screen videos spiced up the night with fun, self animated videos for the crowd to see. For every song, Paisley had some sort of unique video that went along with the lyrics and got the crowd screaming for more. Banners saying, “God Bless Country Music” flashed on the screen during Paisley’s latest hit, “When I Get Where I’m Going”, along with images of Elvis, Johnny Cash, Hank Williams, and Dale Earnhardt. These images acted as an oversized memorial to some of the nation’s legends.
Paisley’s greatest trick was held until the end of the show. Just when the fans thought the show was over, Paisley came back on stage for one final hurrah, and this time he was not alone. Standing on stage next to him was fellow country music star Carrie Underwood. Paisley again catered to his lawn seat guests and finished the show on a small stage that was located toward the back of the venue. He put on a show full of surprises that catered to all of his fans, not just the high paying ones in the front row. It is a show that any country music fan would be able to appreciate.