November 5, 2010

Getting to hear "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere" sung live by Alan Jackson

SACRAMENTO, Calif., USA - Confession time: I like country and western music. Not all of it, certainly. But a lot of it, yes, absolutely. I love that so many country songs actually tell a little story. Ever hear Bubba Shot the Jukebox? Now there is a story.

And so when The Sacramento Bee newspaper asked me to to haul my butt out to Arco Arena to catch Alan Jackson's concert Thursday night - and write a review and snap some pictures - I jumped to go. Alan Jackson's music is my kind of country music. And it turned out, the Admiral's, too.

I checked when I got the assignment and saw that I have a half-dozen of his songs safely tucked in my ITunes library, including "It's 5 o'clock Somewhere." That song has particular meaning to me - it was first real song I learned to play on the ukulele. (I don't count Row, Row, Row Your Boat or Auld Lang Syne or Clementine in quite the same category.)

Alan Jackson
And I was not disappointed - he sang the It's 5 o'clock Somewhere towards the end of his concert, along with all the other songs I already have in my library.

"Anybody know what time it is?" he shouted. And that was it, we were all up and swaying and dancing to It's 5 o'clock Somewhere. Like most of his songs, the audience knew all the lyrics and sang along.

Here's a link to my review: Alan Jackson concert review

I lost count years ago of the events I've gone to and written about for newspapers and magazines. And at many of those, I carried a still camera, capturing a few (or more) images for news stories or features. Last week's Rally to Restore Sanity, being a good example, though Admiral Fox got most of the photos there. Here's a link to the rally story that appeared in the Sacramento News and Review: Rally Story

But I have never been a photo shooter at a big concert - and this was a first-class operation with professional photographers and cameras with huge lenses that looked so powerful that if Sarah Palin had one, she probably could see Russia from her house.

Me? Well I have a fantastic new video camera. But my still camera is well, a little puny.

Thursday night I was using my little Canon point and shoot, about one fourth the size of the hardware carried by the professionals.  But I was not going to waste a photo credential that let me stand a few feet from the country legend and his band, The Strayhorns.

Check out the guy in the gray ponytail below Alan Jackson
So when three equipment-laden photographers marched out of the stage wings, led by a security guard through the crowd, I tagged along and gamely shot pictures of Alan for an entire song. I'm sure it looked pretty silly. But silly or not, I was able to snap about six or eight shots that were pretty good - and one did make it into The Sacramento Bee with the review.

Take that, professional photographers.

The first warm-up band for Alan Jackson (just before Chris Young took the stage) was a nice surprise - and worth hearing all on its own.

The Band Perry, (Kimberly Perry and her two brothers, Neil and Reid) rocked the stage at Arco with a short set that got the place jumping and dancing and screaming an hour before the main event.

The band has had some hits and is one of those up-and-coming groups that you can tell are going to make it really big - and soon. Some of their songs will likely be finding their way onto my ITunes lists pretty soon.

Here's a link to their site: The Band Perry website

Neil, Kimberly and Reid Perry

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