Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McGraw, Hill Tap into Various Genres; the Country Couple's Concert Shows Why They're King and Queen

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

McGraw, Hill Tap into Various Genres; the Country Couple's Concert Shows Why They're King and Queen

Article excerpt

Byline: JEFF VRABEL

It's no secret why Tim McGraw and Faith Hill are the reigning power couple of country music: They're really good at it. They've mastered the tricks of their trade -- ambitious themes, soaring choruses and a reliance on idyllic American imagery like downtowns, whiskey shots, county fairs, the backseats of Cadillacs, love, pain and beer. And there's an enviably effortless-looking sense to their performance, the sense that there's not a moment unaccounted for, not a singalong left untapped, not a crescendo left untouched.

But for all the success their bombastic attack has brought, it was the quieter, simpler moments that tended to stand out Sunday at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena, night one of a Memorial Day double-header in what McGraw called his "mama's hometown."

If you're a country fan and careful with your concert dollar, this show is probably your safest possible bet until they figure out a way to reanimate Hank Williams. Between them, McGraw and Hill have sold 17 jillion records and are responsible for about 47,000 hit singles (it's late and I do not have my Billboard in front of me), and each is delivered in a manner of sheer professionalism. And the stage is an expensive-looking doozy: centered at half-court with four video-capable ramps stretching in all directions, it presents fans with the traditional in-the-round dilemma, but most seemed happy to watch the video monitors when the performers were on the other side of the room, in exchange for getting the occasional extreme close-up (and the digital shot of a lifetime -- does anybody else remember when you couldn't bring cameras into concerts?) These guys know what they're doing.

Hill goes first; despite scoring with some massive ballads, her role remains that of the effervescent pixie singing of sunshine and summertime, but with monster vocals that are the futile envy of a thousand American Idol contestants. …

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