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In concert: Brad Paisley at Jiffy Lube Live

brad paisleyBrad Paisley was his usual crowd pleasing self on Saturday night. (All photos by Brandon Wu/FTWP)

By Scott Galupo

You'd have scarcely guessed Saturday night at Jiffy Lube Live that Brad Paisley's romantic life has been anything but a blissful breeze. "Wrapped Around," "She's Everything," "The World," "I Thought I Loved You Then" - soapy chronicles all.

The country superstar kept any old girlfriend complications, such as singer-songwriter Chely Wright's revelation earlier this month that she once dated him despite being gay, safely under his hand-shaped hat.

brad paisley

With their traditionalist grit and adorable hooks, the tunes were consummate crowd-pleasers. As for guitar heroics, let's just say Paisley coaxed mind-boggling sounds - a superhuman hybrid of chicken-pickin' and scorching blues - from an array of glittery Telecasters while breaking neither his stride nor a sweat.

Paisley frequently stationed himself at lead-mike stands at either wing of the amphitheater's vast stage, and for the introspective ballad "Letter to Me" he trotted clear across the pavilion to play directly in front of the mud-caked thousands on the lawn. (Coming from flood-ravaged Nashville, even Saturday night's relentless rain must have seemed paltry to Paisley.)

The surging chorus of "Welcome to the Future" might be nicked from Tom Petty's "Rebels," but its seemingly generic wowie-zowie tale of new media technology was made all the more poignant with a final verse about racial progress.

Fitting, then, that Darius Rucker, the Hootie and the Blowfish singer turned Nashville newbie, is joining Paisley this summer. On Saturday, Rucker performed cuts from his surprisingly successful 2008 album "Learn to Live" as well as slightly tweaked Hootie hits like "Let Her Cry" and "Hold My Hand."

And when, during the encore, Paisley tapped him to take the "helping white people dance" line from the grand singalong "Alcohol," Rucker's mock-robotic slide step said it all.

brad paisley

brad paisley

brad paisley

brad paisley

brad paisley

brad paisley

brad paisley

By David Malitz  |  May 24, 2010; 12:30 PM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker  
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Back in the mid-90's I sold merchandise for an act in the theater at the Wheeling Jamboree USA. Brad was a teenager who played like a young Steve Wariner at the time. He and his dad would hang oug near the merchandise tables before and after Brad's segment on the show, and were both very nice, friendly guys. You could tell then he had it all. And he's turned out about as good as it can get, down to earth, successful beyond dreams, and playing better than ever. Way to go Brad!

Posted by: tojo45 | May 24, 2010 2:51 PM | Report abuse

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