‘Days of Gold’ tour keeps summertime vibe alive
BY RAN VAN DUSEN
TUPELO – In part of his stage banter, Jake Owen told a crowd of approximately 5,000 fans Thursday night that summer wasn’t over yet. As the cool breeze of autumn was gently blowing in outside, Owen kept that summer vibe alive inside of the BancorpSouth Arena with a performance that can be summed up in one simple word – fun.
A stage set mimicking a lot of your favorite Florida panhandle touristy restaurants and beach bars helped enforce that summertime feeling, plus there were all of those definitive summer songs that have given the Florida native plenty of airtime on country radio, CMT and GAC.
He unexpectedly started his set from the soundboard to the summer ditty, “Days of Gold,” which sent fans scrambling to try to get close to him. As the setlist shuffled through his hits like “Anywhere With You,” “Alone With You,” “Beachin” and “The One That Got Away,” fans had similar chances to get up close and personal.
Screaming girls quickly lined up twice after he climbed up in Section 204 to take selfies with fans.
Spotting a sign held by a 14-year-old fan by the stage runway stating it was her first concert was enough of an excuse for him to pull her up front and center to serenade her with “Don’t Think I Can’t Love You” from his sophomore album. She was mesmerized the entire time.
In addition to inviting selected fans to watch the show from on stage at the two tiki bar setups, he fused in covers of everything from hits recorded by previous stage mates, Alan Jackson and Brooks and Dunn, to Meghan Trainor’s “All About That Bass” and “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” theme song.
About four hours before Owen ended his set with “Barefoot Blue Jean Night,” Nashville southern rock trio The Cadillac Three started the show with black T-shirts, long hair and a stage set reminiscent of an 80s glam band.
“My son, Rex, loves The Cadillac Three. He came for them. I came for Jake Owen,” said Rachel Claxton Harris, who used to live in Aberdeen and Amory.
The lack of a bass was made up with the thump of thundering drums. The group, which had a cameo on season 2 of ABC’s “Nashville,” belted out a raw southern rock/country sound missing from mainstream country, but heavily laced in SiriusXM’s Outlaw Country station’s playlist.
Frontman Jaren Johnston informed the crowd that the group is no stranger to Tupelo, citing opening slots for Dierks Bentley twice and ZZ Top at the BancorpSouth Arena.
The Cadillac Three ended its set with “The South,” an homage to southeastern pride and the southern rock groups that helped make the region famous on the music scene.
The single features guest vocals from Florida Georgia Line, Bentley and Mike Eli of the Eli Young Band, the group that followed next on the bill with a dozen songs.
With a strong opening of two songs, the five-piece former Texas garage band slowed things down a bit with “Always The Love Songs” after describing the scene of a date found in several country music videos with a campfire, a tailgate and an acoustic guitar.
Before playing “Dust,” Eli described it as a song meant for rolling down the truck windows and leaving the people who push you around behind.
Fingers and phones were held high in the air a short time later when the group played “Even If It Breaks Your Heart,” a song about the dreamers in each of us.
The band incorporated a little bit of Tom Petty’s “Learning to Fly” in between.