The Farm picked one heck of a show to start their first official summer concert season with local American Idol winner and fan favorite, Scotty McCreery, hit singer/songwriter Eric Paslay and local favorite, the Blake Kearney Band. When we rolled in the parking lot at 3pm, it was already packed with fans playing cornhole, tailgating and having their own pre-show parties. The gates weren't opening for another 2 hours and the show starting an hour after that. So I guess that's how Scotty fans roll around these parts. To quote Jim Carrey in 'Dumb and Dumber', "I like it, I like it a lot."
Scotty held a party for his fan club and invited Sadie and John Luke Robertson from "Duck Dynasty". Unfortunately we missed this grand poobah of an event, but here are the meet and greet pics from his fan club page in case ya wanna take a gander - CLICK HERE FOR FAN CLUB PARTY PICS.
The crowd was insane, not like Billy Bob Thornton in 'Sling Blade' insane, but in a good way. These people love Scotty. I honestly don't think I've ever seen a local artist receive such a loving reception as he does, every show. Fans came from all over the country, even from Canada, just to show their support for their favorite Idol. The support was thick in the summer air, anyone near the venue was probably "Feelin' It".
BLAKE KEARNEY BAND
The opener was a local band, The Blake Kearney Band. Man howdy these guys were good. They performed a ton of country covers to get the crowd riled up and ready, including songs by Jason Aldean and Dierks Bentley. They also performed a couple of great originals. I was sun baked so totally missed the titles, but they were great. They kept the crowd at a great energy level, especially the females. If they didn't know who Blake Kearney was before the show, they damn sure do now and they loved him. They are great group of guys, very talented and friendly. They jumped off the stage and came down to connect with the fans at the end of their set, signing autographs, shaking hands and posing for the essential fan/artist selfies.
Next up, the entire reason I drove 2 hours up and 2 hours right back, Eric Paslay. Having seen and met Eric in Morehead City, NC last October, I knew this was a DON'T YOU DARE MISS opportunity. This guy made me fall in love with songwriting all over again, he isn't just a one in a million kind of artist, he's a once in a lifetime kind of artist. You just don't see talent like Eric's every day. His talent overshadows his 6'6" stature and his humble attitude will make even the harshest critic crumble. You just can't NOT like this guy, if you don't, you need expensive therapy. His songs are well written, written from the heart and it's evident that he's not just writing music that pays the bills, he's writing music that means something to him, something that says something. With hits he's co-written like "Barefoot Blue Jean Night" for Jake Owen, "Rewind" for Rascal Flatts, and "Even If It Breaks Your Heart", he's more than proven himself as a hit writer, throw in his ability to perform his own songs like "Friday Night", "Song About a Girl", "She Don't Love You" and "Less Than Whole", he is the whole package wrapped up in a musical burrito of wonderful. I don't mean to gush, well, yes I do because he deserves a ton of gushing. From the response of the crowd, I am sure they agreed.
THE ROBERTSONS (KORIE, SADIE AND JOHN LUKE)
It's getting close, almost Scotty McHotty time (isn't that what they call him around here?). Before he took the stage, Korie, Sadie and John Luke Robertson took the stage to say thank you for supporting "Duck Dynasty" and to introduce Scotty. Man, those Robertson's are just purty. What a nice family. I almost expected the crowd to respond with duck calls instead of applause. Not a single duck call in the place. I knew I should have taken mine. As Uncle Si would say, "Dang Jack!"
Finally, it was time for the guy that put Garner, NC on the map, the guy who loves his Bojangles sweet tea and the guy that this "Watertower Town" came to see ... Scotty McCreery. Now, even being from Garner, NC myself, I will publicly admit, I was never a huge fan. I never got it. Once I saw this crowd and seeing his energy and hearing him sing live, I now get it. Yes, I eat crow and put it in writing, I GET IT. He put on a great show, was very impressive. He's stayed true to his upbringing and his values, that in itself is a plus in the industry these days and a rare thing to find. He also projects a confidence in every note he sings and that speaks volumes. He came out hitting the stage like a horse let loose at the Derby, ready to run and ready to win. He tired me out just watching him run across the stage, jumping on the speakers, and never losing his breath. I, on the other hand, was ready to lay down on the grass and sleep. LOL! What a great homecoming for Scotty and what a great fan base he has.
I do have to add a couple of additional things, I know I've been lengthy with this review but a good show deserves length. The Farm is a fantastic venue, tons of land, a solid well built and low stage (which makes it easy for the photographers to get great shots instead of nostril shots), a nice building to house fan club parties and other events. They had various food vendors which was nice. I asked several staff members and no one knew if they had an ATM or not. This was my only problem because it's so easy to forget to stop and get cash now that debit cards are so popular. I never carry cash. We wound up having to wait until the show was over to get anything to eat and we hadn't eaten since lunch. Other than that, probably the best venue I have ever been to for a show. The staff was fantastic.
I'd like to say thank you to Deep South Entertainment for making sure this show went smoothly. These guys are at every show I go to here in eastern NC and every time, it's spot on. The sound is great, the lighting is perfect and they do not stop working. They are probably the hardest working crew I've ever dealt with and they should be commended for their quality work. So, thank you Deep South.