Country star Jason Aldean drew a sold-out crowd of young country fans to Intrust Bank Arena on Friday night, where he brought his “My Kinda Party” tour – a show that has been selling out arenas across the country.
The crowd of more than 14,000 included mostly women – many of them under 35. They danced, swayed, screamed and sang along as Aldean performed a string of country hits from “My Kinda Party,” the best-selling country album of 2011.
Aldean rose up from underneath the stage wearing a cowboy hat that mostly obscured his eyes, a plaid shirt and torn blue jeans. Perhaps not coincidentally, that outfit was the look of choice for the majority of the crowd's male members, who were in the clear minority.
The women followed a dress code, too, a noticeable number of them wearing flouncy mini-dresses with big belts and cowgirl boots.
The stage was set up at the back of the arena, but there was no backdrop, and fans were seated on all sides of the stage, including behind it.
Early in the evening, Aldean stood with his back to the biggest part of the audience and sang to the people behind him.
“When you guys got here, you probably thought your seats sucked,” he said. “But I want to make sure that doesn't happen, alright?”
Aldean performed all of his hits from his current album, including the rap-infused “Dirt Road Anthem” and his current single “Fly Over States.”
Also included in his set list: “Crazy Town,” “Johnny Cash,” “Big Green Tractor,” “Why” and “Hicktown.”
In the middle of the show, opening act Luke Bryan joined Aldean on a remote stage at the back of the arena to perform a string of country covers that Aldean said paid tribute to some of his country music idols. Included in the medley: Garth Brooks' “Much Too Young (To Feel This Damn Old),” “Time Marches On” by Tracy Lawrence and “The Joker” by Steve Miller Band. (The middle of the medley included several bra-tossing incidents that the duo turned into a PG-rated improv comedy act.)
Bryan opened the show with a long-for-an-opening act set that lasted more than an hour and included a fusion of country, pop and metal music, including covers of Adele's “Someone Like You” and Metallica's “Enter Sandman.”
He also included several of his own radio hits, including “Rain is a Good Thing,” “Someone Else Calling You Baby” and “I Don't Want This Night to End.”
Wearing a blue T-shirt and skinny jeans, Bryan shook, shimmied and gyrated around the stage, sending his female fans into hysterics. One even stormed the stage for his final song, the hit, “Country Girl (Shake it for Me),” where she heartily shook it for him before being escorted back to her seat.
The other opening act, “American Idol” Season 10 runner up Lauren Alaina didn't perform. The arena announced earlier in the day that she was ill and would not take the stage.
“She didn't look too good backstage today,” Aldean said during the show.
At the concert, arena officials also awarded a prize to a fan who was the millionth person through the doors in the arena. Tia Bruce and her niece, 9-year-old Michelle Mann, were given seats in a suite and met Aldean backstage.