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In Concert: Tim McGraw at Jiffy Lube Live

tim mcgrawTim McGraw picked up the pace when necessary at Jiffy Lube Live. (All photos by Kyle Gustafson)

By Emily Yahr

After 22 years of touring, Tim McGraw can do whatever Tim McGraw wants — and the country star made that point perfectly clear during Saturday’s Southern Voice Tour at Jiffy Lube Live. While it first appeared that McGraw would nonchalantly sail through the show — robotically crooning hit after hit that’s made him so famous — the singer ratcheted up the energy in the second half of the night, proving that even during one of the most dreary concert seasons in recent history , there are reasons that he can still attract thousands to a live show.

Kicking the concert off with "Real Good Man," McGraw steamrolled through the first 10 songs, only stopping to announce to the crowd that at his shows, "We don’t [fool around] … we just play music," and earn major "awww" points by bringing out his adorable young daughter, Maggie, to sing the chorus of "Last Dollar (Fly Away)." But besides sitting on the edge of the stage to allow fans better camera access for eventual Facebook profile pictures, audience interaction was only limited to some high-fives in the crowd.

Just as all hope appeared to be lost, however, McGraw busted out the acoustic guitar, sat down by himself on a stool, and started chattering away as the audience listened intently. Topics included his age (turned 43 in May), his hometown (in Louisiana, as he reminded everyone to pray for the Gulf Coast victims) and reasons he started playing guitar (to impress the ladies). After singing Alabama’s "Feels So Right," McGraw was joined by his pals the Warren Brothers, Brad and Brett; and after a quick Taylor Swift joke — the teen launched her career with the single, "Tim McGraw" — the three men collaborated on a gorgeous, chill-inducing version of "If You’re Reading This," about a fallen soldier’s last words to his family.

With the crowd buzzing from the unexpected sit-down, McGraw kept the mood going as he immediately launched into a cover of "Tiny Dancer," and moved on to some of his even more popular hits, such as "I Like It, I Love It," "Something Like That," and "Live Like You Were Dying." The show went on for nearly two hours, and easily overcame the sleepy beginning.

Opening act Lady Antebellum, who tends to sound just as pitch-perfect live as they do on their albums, sang their sweet, sweet harmonies, and looked more like three good friends just casually hanging out and singing, rather than performing for a ginormous venue. The trio, comprised of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood, sang their current hits, and the crowd erupted when they broke into "Need You Now," possibly the most heart wrenching song ever written about a late-night hook-up.

lady antebellum

(More pictures after the jump.)

tim mcgraw

tim mcgraw

lady antebellum

By Emily Yahr  |  July 12, 2010; 10:30 AM ET
Categories:  In concert  | Tags: Lady Antebellum, Tim McGraw  
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Next: In concert: Unrest at Black Cat


it was a great night with great music. The best part was when Tim brought on stage a young girl maybe 7, to dance with him. She held a sign saying "It's my first Tim McGraw concert, can I get a hug?"

Faith Hill was backstage left the whole time and capped a wonderful night that started with an acoustic set with Tim and his Dance Hall Doctors !!!

Posted by: unclefrank22801 | July 11, 2010 7:00 AM | Report abuse

We saw him at the Verizon center with his wife about 4 years ago. I WAS THE WORST CONCERT I HAVE EVER SEEN. He was sick, told the audience about 1/3 way through his performace and let us sign 2/3 of each song. We were looking for him to somehow pay back the area with a free concert, say he was sorry in the paper - anything. I will never waste my money on anything he does again.

Posted by: chargersix | July 11, 2010 8:21 AM | Report abuse

We purchased tickets expressly to see Lady Antebellum and missed their entire set because we sat in traffic - only 5 miles from the pavilion - for 2.5 hours. It was most decidedly the slowest process I have experienced at a live venue. As we (finally) got closer, we realized that the glacial pace was due to the fact that only two (2) lanes were open to allow the 25,000 attendees into the lot and the slowest teenagers in America were "guiding" people into their parking spots. I doubt I will ever return to Jiffy Lube Live/Nissan Pavilion as this experience was so incredibly negative. We didn't even stay very long for Tim McGraw (completely agree on the slow beginning) because we were so paranoid about physically getting out of the parking lot. Jiffy Lube Live/Nissan Pavilion take note!!

Posted by: WashPostJC | July 11, 2010 10:31 AM | Report abuse

That was my daughter Megan (9 years old) that was pulled on stage.

I don't even know where to begin. The whole night seems so surreal. Megan and I left for the concert believing we had plenty of time to spare. We were sitting in traffic for ever with no end in site. I had the driver let us out and Megan and I started to walk the mile to the stadium. As we were walking we saw a group of men running towards us. I thought they were part of a jogging club or some Marines exercising. As the group approached a man said to Megan...I like your sign...I was in shock it was Tim McGraw. He gave Megan a wink and said see you later. We could not believe what had just happened.

When we got into the stadium Lady A was already performing. We rushed to our seats which were incredible...6th row. The security at Nissan was phenomenal. They led Megan to the front of the stage to watch Lady A. She was smiling from ear to ear.

When it was time for Tim they had her come back to the front to hold up her sign that read "My First Tim McGraw concert. I need a hug". When Tim and the Dancehall Doctors emerged they loved her sign. The started dropping guitar picks on her. She collected two of them. Tim came over to her and bent down and she slipped a guitar silly band on his wrist, which he wore the whole concert. He held her hand a lot. He spent a considerable about of time at her end of the stage each time making sure to grab her hand and wink, smile, or point at her.

Megan started to get smushed my all the adults rushing the stage. She wanted to move back to her seat. Security quickly moved us to the second row center. It was at that time that Tim started to sing Tiny Dancer. Megan was on her chair when Tim reached out to her and motioned for her to come on stage. The crowd went crazy and everyone was lifting her to the stage. He danced and twirled her around. The look on everyones face was priceless. She was so emotional when she left the stage...after a hug of course.

Everyone in the crowd was going crazy around us giving her high fives and congratulating her. I thought she was going to pass out when she found out she was on the jumbotron. One of the concertgoers told Megan to look Stage Left and there was Faith Hill. She was giving Megan a thumbs up and waving her hands up and down to her. Megan was in total shock.

The rest of the concert Tim would come over point and wave to her. It is hard to put the experience into words. As we were leaving people from all over were coming up to the Tiny Dancer Girl. I still don't think it has sunk into Megan what a once in a life time experience this was for her. She is so magical. She truly lights up a room and I swear that energy was felt tonight by Tim, The Dancehall Doctors, and even the crowd. It was a night I will never forget.

Posted by: ladynole | July 11, 2010 10:39 AM | Report abuse

Wow - were we at the same concert? My sense is that it was a good concert, but I think it was given by Charlie Brown's teacher. The sound was TERRIBLE. The best songs were those we knew by heart because only when the crowd was singing could you understand the words. And it's nice to read about what he was talking about because we certainly couldn't understand it when he said it. We moved around to several spots and the sound was terrible in every section. And I know it can be better because Brad Paisley was crystal clear.

Posted by: jg771 | July 11, 2010 11:07 AM | Report abuse

I stopped going to concerts years ago for many of the reasons posted here. Traffic, the performer having an "off" night, bad sound, etc.

Posted by: dmahon | July 11, 2010 11:37 AM | Report abuse

Jiffy Lube Live? Sounds like some variation of a donkey show.

Posted by: byxnet | July 11, 2010 11:57 AM | Report abuse

I don't know where the negative performance reviews are coming from..? I was in the pavillion, and that was the best concert I have seen in ages !!!! Tim Mcgraw sounded amazing, was very into the audience and I loved it start to finish. Lady A was also amazing. I concur that traffic is aweful. I was 2 hrs early to avoid the mess. I was impressed and thought it was worth every penny ....!!!!

Posted by: luvs_disco | July 11, 2010 2:30 PM | Report abuse

I don't know why everyone knocks Nissan AKA Jiffy Lube Live. I've been a couple times and it's no harder to get into or out of then most other venues. I understand last night the issue was more out on 66 then it was at the site. I left Rockville at 5:30 and was on the lawn with drink in hand well before the first band took the stage. A BIG OMG to Megan!!!!!! There were some many Awwwwsss out on the lawn when Tim pulled her up on stage. It was a highlight of the night. I think Tim and Lady A rocked. No complaints here.

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Posted by: cookienihui | July 12, 2010 7:57 AM | Report abuse

I agree that the traffic was horrendous. It normally takes us an hour and twenty mins. to get there. We got within 3/4 mile by 6:00 and didn't pull into the gates of the venue until 7:30!! I was bummed to miss the majority of Lady Antebellum, but was saved by the fact that I was one of the lucky ones that saw Tim jogging before the show. He literally ran right past my car, shirtless, and was in the best shape! I was drooling before even realizing it was Tim. When I realized who it was, it made my night and certainly made up for all the time wasted sitting in traffic. As far as the concert went, I enjoyed it. It was the 5th time I've seen him in concert, and I'm such a big fan and could never truly be disappointed by anything he did. It wasn't the best show I've seen of his though. The encore and closing song could have been better.

Posted by: putnam23 | July 12, 2010 9:55 AM | Report abuse

Tim McGraw always puts on a good show, I have seen him 5 times in concert at several different venues. I think the negativtiy coming out is toward Jiffy Lube Live. I have been going to concerts there for 12 years; and this summer's experience as well as the end of last summer have been horrible. The sound where I was sitting (in the pavilion back left)at Tim's show was very muffled. You couldn't hear him at all. It seemed to get better toward the end of the concert. Lastly, traffic going into the venue and getting out was terrible. It was perfected at one point over the years; but somebody got the bright idea to change things up and it has created mass confusion and upset many concert patrons. The traffic on Welington Rd has been slowed down tremendously. If one has not gone to many concerts there, they would not see the big deal and think the traffic experienced on Saturday was normal. I could go on and on about the traffic problem but there would be no point other than it stunk.

Posted by: labberger24 | July 12, 2010 5:01 PM | Report abuse

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