Arizona country fans were anticipating another hot summer concert. Until the perfect storm rolled through right before Mickey Guyton’s set. The Crushin’ It crew must have missed the weather alert but were quick to secure down equipment. Welcome to the desert when a “mild” dust storm hits. Guyton came to the stage and quickly turned the heads of many. She sang all but two songs from her recent EP’s. When Guyton sang “Cool Ya,” it was obvious she has more than a powerful voice. Move over Luke Bryan, there’s a new country shaker in town! Guyton ended her set with a flawless vocal on “Better Than You Left Me.” After the performance many new fans understood why I was holding a sign stating “Mickey Guyton is my favorite TOMATO.”
While waiting for Justin Moore to start, I met several fans wondering why he isn’t headlining his own tour. My response to that, “Mickey Guyton, Justin Moore, AND Brad Paisley! It’s a concert trifecta.” Moore started his set with “Point at You” wearing a black tank, tight jeans, cowboy hat and boots. I could not help but notice the “skoal ring” in his back right pocket. My immediate thought was “What ever happened to Gretchen Wilson?” None the less he continued to play hit after hit as the crowd sang along. When it was time for “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” Moore asked fans to get out their phones and light up the sky. His heartfelt performance is even more touching when you look up and see thousands of lights. Moore ended with “Small Town USA.” He thanked fans for the great career and without them, he wouldn’t be as successful. Justin Moore is always humble and shows he is a genuine, stand-up guy.
The crew began setting up Brad Paisley’s stage, including a real bar! I’m a bit disappointed I didn’t get the invite. After all, Brad is welcome anytime to my backyard tiki-bar. The screen lit up with a countdown from 30. Then, Paisley comes up from behind part of the screen to “Riverbank.” The large screen shows a boat going down a river as Paisley makes his way to center stage. While he is playing the bar is filled with thirsty patrons – drinking from a real tap. The patrons stay for a few songs at a time. During “Celebrity,” someone sits at the bar with a Brad Paisley bobble head on. Then, walks to the catwalk high-fiving fans, myself included. Justin Moore joined Brad Paisley for “Still a Guy.” Mickey Guyton showed up to sing “Whiskey Lullaby.” I was happy Guyton returned to sing for those who missed her in the beginning. At one point, Paisley invited a young kid on stage to play Mario Kart. After, he handed the kid a guitar, lucky boy. Another highlight was when Paisley was escorted through the crowd by security to a 2nd stage. He takes out his phone and face times Carrie Underwood who helps him sing “Remind Me.” It was obviously pre-recorded, but still got a huge reaction from fans. Paisley completed his set with “Crushin’ It.” A few minutes later, he returned to the stage to play “Then” and “Alcohol.”
This tour has everything. A female artist showing the country music industry she does belong and is the future of country music. An artist who continues to stay true to his southern roots. And a headliner who will go down as one of the best guitarists in the genre and one who introduced digital animation to country music. In other words, the concert was Crushin’ It!