I have always liked a select group of country musicians, but most of my music tastes are in heavy metal. That being said, I was very much looking forward to seeing Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini andBrett Young at the Washington State Fair Saturday night. The two opening acts already have big hits to their names and Lady Antebellum is country royalty.
The night started with Brett Young on a beautiful, but warm evening. His self titled debut album came out early last year and made it to #2 on the country charts. His first single “Sleep Without You” went to #3 on the country charts. He followed that up with “In Case You Didn’t Know” which went to #2 on the county charts and was the highlight of his short set. The almost sold out crowd loudly singing along to this fantastic ballad. He finished the set with “Sleep Without You” and left the crowd wanting more. He has a good traditional country sound that is very easy to listen to. He also wore a Richard Sherman Seahawks jersey which the crowd loved.
Next up was Kelsea Ballerini and she left it all on the stage. Billboard Magazine has called her the next queen of country music. Kelsea is the first female country artist to have her first three singles reach #1 on the country charts. When I watched her videos on YouTube they were good. Live, her songs were great! Her energy all night was crazy and the smile hardly ever left her face. She was having such a good time that you couldn’t help but be impressed. When her set was over, a colleague and I agreed she is going to be a super star. The whole set was a highlight. If I had to pick some key moments those would be “Love Me Like You Mean It”, “Peter Pan” and “Yeah Boy“. She was one of the best pure entertainers I have seen on stage in a long time. At age 23, her career is just getting started and it will be exciting to see where it goes from here.
Next up was county legend Lady Antebellum. Their list of accomplishments is incredible. Since 2006, they have won 6 CMA Awards including 3 Vocal Group of the Year awards and have been nominated for awards 19 times. They have also been nominated for 11 Grammy Awards and have won 7. The list of awards goes on and on. They have sold almost 11 million albums to date.
The concert itself was a treat for the ears. Lady Antebellum is a ten-person band with the three main performers being Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood. The two newest members, creating a brass section of the band. My first thought was how can this work with a country band? It worked great and they sounded wonderful throughout the show. Hillary Scott, who is pregnant with twins, sounded fantastic and it didn’t slow her down at all. The night started with the hit “Downtown”and the crowd was on their feet cheering, singing and dancing along. The hits just kept coming with “Dancin’ Away With My Heart”, “American Honey” and “I Run To You” as part of the first half of their set.
Hillary Scott, with her family, released a gospel album last year and they played “Thy Will”. You could just feel the emotion of the song throughout the whole crowd. It was definitely a special moment in the set. They also did a few covers over the course of the evening. One that was surprising but quite good was “You’re Still The One” by Shania Twain. The show ended with arguably their biggest hit “Need You Now”. The crowd roared in approval and Lady Antebellum had lived up to their reputation as one of the best acts in country music. There was a lot of great emotion during their songs and some great music to boot. I left very impressed with all the bands that had performed.
Full Photo Gallery for Kelsea Ballerini Here: Kelsea Ballerini Photos
Full Photo Gallery for Lady Antebellem Here: Lady Antebellem Photos
See my Full Portfolio Here: Eric Pefley Concert Photography
Review by Eric Pefley