Lady Antebellum, Openers Dance on That Country Line; No Cowboy Hats Are Needed for Rock-Flavored Show at the Arena

By Szaroleta, Tom | The Florida Times Union, May 12, 2012 | Go to article overview

Lady Antebellum, Openers Dance on That Country Line; No Cowboy Hats Are Needed for Rock-Flavored Show at the Arena


Szaroleta, Tom, The Florida Times Union


Byline: Tom Szaroleta

A nearly sold-out crowd came to Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena for a country music concert Thursday night, but a rock show broke out.

Between the three acts on the bill - headliners Lady Antebellum and opening acts Darius Rucker and Thompson Square - the crowd was treated to covers of songs by Kiss, Led Zeppelin, the Steve Miller Band, the Allman Brothers Band, the Doobie Brothers, Prince, Hank Williams Jr., the Rolling Stones and Hootie and the Blowfish.

The most "country" act on the bill was Rucker, which is a little ironic, considering that he used to lead a rock band and was wearing a John Lennon T-shirt. But at least his band used pedal steel guitar, mandolins, fiddles and banjo.

Thompson Square and Lady Antebellum, on the other hand, were pretty much straight-ahead rock bands with a few country accents thrown in here and there - notably Lady Antebellum singer Hillary Scott's Nashville twang. Still, there wasn't a cowboy hat onstage all night.

The line between rock and country has grown increasingly blurred in recent years, and that's a good thing because, in the end, it's supposed to be about fans enjoying themselves.

Decked out in the obligatory short denim skirt and boots, they sang along to "Honky Tonk Women" and "The Joker" as enthusiastically as they did to "Need You Now" or "American Honey."

Thompson Square, a husband-and-wife duo, started things off with a short but energetic set. Rucker, ever the genial showman, played an hourlong set that mixed his old Hootie songs with his newer country-flavored solo stuff and a handful of classic rockers.

Lady Antebellum, which has just three albums but has already won boatloads of country awards, came out swinging with "We Owned the Night" and didn't let up all night. …

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