Two minutes before country crooner Alan Jackson opened his concert at Mystic Lake Casino's new showroom, a digital countdown began on the two screens on either side of the stage, as well as on three giant screens behind the stage. The screaming audience maintained their energy for the entire ninety-minute show, offering many standing ovations and begging for autographs (which he gave—too frequently—during instrumental portions of his songs).
What better song to start a country show with than "Gone Country"? The show was pure spectacle, emphasized by the stage presence of ten musicians—acoustic, electric, bass, and pedal-steel guitarists, a banjo player, drummer, harmony singer, violinist, keyboardist, and singer Jackson.
Jackson has been in the top echelon of country musicians for two decades. Though he may be a bit older, tamer, and heavier, the man's still got his long blond curls and mustache, and damn can he sing. His wonderful baritone drawl is as powerful as it ever was.
Jackson's setlist (see below) balanced fast-paced, fun, pop country singles with heartfelt ballads of love and loss. Yes, it was cliché country music, but there's a reason Jackson's brand of it has stayed popular for so long—he's believable. For the most part, it's not over-the-top "lost my wife, my house, my dog, my truck, now I feel like chuggin’ some beer” music. Jackson's dramatic stories are relatable—falling in love, growing old, remembering your childhood. As he put it last night, they’re "songs about life and love, and everything in between."
There wasn't a bad seat in the sold-out house. The casino's new state-of-the-art, luxe venue has great sightlines, superb acoustics, plush seats, and lots of leg room. They made good use of the projection screens, showing both live and prerecorded video throughout the performance, and put on an exciting light show.
Jackson played eighteen songs in just under an hour and a half—the perfect amount to leave the audience craving just a little bit more. And I have to admit, I would've stayed for another set.
I Don't Even Know Your Name
Livin' On Love
A Woman's Love
Don't Rock the Jukebox
Seven Bridges Road
It's Five O'Clock Somewhere
Pop a Top
The Blues Man
Who's Cheatin' Who
Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning)
Where I Come From