Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Country Fans Get Real Treat at the Fair

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Country Fans Get Real Treat at the Fair

Article excerpt

Byline: EYDER PERALTA, The Times-Union

The Baseball Grounds finally came alive Monday night for the last of three country shows that were part of the Greater Jacksonville Agricultural Fair.

The trip into the stadium was much noisier than it had been for the previous concerts. It seemed the fair had picked up steam and so had the concertgoers. More than 1,500 of them packed the stands.

This was a crowd that wanted to have fun. It was teeming with pent-up country energy and was ready to blow, if the right person lit the fuse.

Enter: Joe Diffie, Tracy Lawrence and Mark Chesnutt.

"Tracy!" screamed a couple of girls in the back row, giving Lawrence the kind of shrieks usually reserved for Justin Timberlake.

Jacksonville crowds can be tough to please. People sit, and it's hard to get them up. People don't scream, they politely clap.

But on Monday, it all changed. Diffie in his old-ladylike long-sleeve shirt, Lawrence in his crowd-angering Yankees jersey and Chesnutt with his traditional cowboy hat brought the crowd to its feet as they sang the Rockin' Roadhouse Tour theme song -- a quick ditty that framed the set with a variety-show kind of a feel.

Then Lawrence and Chesnutt took off and let Diffie sing his hits. He did Third Rock From the Sun, Country, So Help Me Girl and Pick-up Man in a row.

It was country at its finest, and Diffie never let the crowd get off its high. He made them dance and scream and enjoy themselves. Then he brought it down a bit with Texas Sized Heartache and made it patriotic with Ships That Don't Come In, which he dedicated to the Armed Forces as Lawrence came out waving an American flag.

The crowd went crazy. The same girls in the back row screamed, "Tracy!"

Chesnutt and Tracy joined Diffie on stage for A Country Boy Can Survive, then went into what seemed like a rehearsed stage banter. …

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