Country superstar Tim McGraw sure knows how to make entrance. Last night before taking the stage in front of a rowdy sold out crowd at Blossom, he braved the rain to strut from the side of the stage and cut through the crowd, slapping high fives along the way. Wearing a black cowboy hat and a tank top that exposed his beefy, well-toned arms, the guy looked like he was on his way to a wrestling match as the Imagine Dragons anthem “Radioactive” played over the PA system. What a way to kick off Blossom’s summer concert season.
McGraw opened with the poppy “Where the Green Grass Grows” and inserted a choice shoutout to Ohio along the way. He was clearly enthused that the torrential downpours that kept coming throughout the night hadn’t dampened the audience’s enthusiasm. “I didn’t know there were this many people in Ohio,” McGraw he said at one point as he gazed over the audience that stretched way to the back of the lawn area where fans had thrown down tarps and set up umbrellas in the attempt to stay dry. “We’ve played to a lot of big crowds on this tour but you might take the cake.” McGraw and his stellar 8-piece band ran through all of the guy’s biggest hits and played the songs impeccably, adding some particularly vibrant blues guitar solos to “All I Want is a Life” and jamming nicely at the end of “Friend of a Friend.” The moody “Let it Go” showed off his poetic side as the introspective song about moving on after tragedy really resonated. But let’s face it; this show was just about having a good time and on that account, McGraw clearly delivered by playing hit after hit after hit.
A self-described redneck from Georgia, singer-guitarist Brantley Gilbert held his own in the opening slot. “A little rain ain’t gonna keep us from raising hell,” he said at the start of his 45-minute set. And raise hell, he did, as a song such as “Take it Outside” — which he prefaced by saying “sometimes you just have to kick someboyd’s ass” — was so heavy, it could have passed as Godsmack tune.