Earlier this spring, I heard about a big concert coming to town that included Kenny Chesney, Sugarland, Montgomery Gentry, Miranda Lambert, and Lady Antebellum. I knew Tyla would want to go since Sugarland and Lady Antebellum are two of her favorites so I snatched up tickets as her birthday present.
After many months of waiting, Saturday was the big day. Having never been inside Qwest Field before, I wanted to get there a bit early. We arrived at 3 (concert started at 4) and walked around the party in the parking lot for a while. There were a lot of tailgaters (despite the King County tailgate ban, not sure how that worked) and the radio station had some side acts and giveaways. With 50,000+ people, it was quite a party.
I thought I was smart when I bought the tickets and got us on the western shady side of the stadium, but alas, I was 100% wrong. We were some of the last people to be free of the hot sun. Each of the first three acts played for about 45 minutes with a 20 minute break in between. Sugarland got around an hour and then Kenny played for 90 minutes plus a 5 song encore. Here’s a breakdown of my impressions:
- Lady Antebellum: They’re a relatively new band and I thought it showed on stage. They have some great music though and I think they’ll stick around for a while.
- Miranda Lambert: Somebody should tell her how much she’s getting paid to sing. Her enthusiasm felt very forced and she walked around popping beach balls (other acts happily kicked them back into the crowd.) I was sort of on the fence about her before, but now I’m done listening to her.
- Montgomery Gentry: These guys have some great songs, but I wouldn’t classify myself as a big fan. They put on a great show though and really had the crowd rocking. Great set.
- Sugarland: There were a lot of questions about whether or not they would play Seattle since Jennifer Nettles had been on vocal rest, but they played and nailed it. Tyla’s squeal of delight when they came on stage made the whole day worth it. I had my camera out videotaping her reaction. Priceless. I think we both would have been happy if the whole show had been just Sugarland. Hopefully they’ll come back to Seattle to headline a show.
- Kenny Chesney: If you’re going to one of his concerts later this year, stop reading for major spoilers. I had heard the opening to the show was impressive, but I was shocked when he appeared out of the AV tent in the middle of the stadium. He flew above the crowd in a chair strung up to the rigging (like the cameras at football games) and it carried him to the stage as he sang “Summertime.” Kenny travels with 15 semis and now I know why. I counted over 150 computer controlled lights and it was an impressive sight to say the least. As the encore started, I noticed that ~20% of the crowd was heading for the doors. He played five covers for the encore and none of them were that impressive. If you want to beat the traffic, skip the encore. We had hoped that all the acts would come on stage to end with Sugarland’s “Life in a Northern Town” but that didn’t happen. His act still gets two thumbs up though.
All in all it was a great (and long) day. Maybe we’re getting old, but we both really wished we had ear plugs. I saw a number of people wearing them. 48 hours later, I could still hear my ears ringing. Volume like that is a bit ridiculous. I’d like to still have hearing when I turn 40 please.
Thanks to Tyla for going with me and for an awesome day! Happy Birthday!