by Jeff Niesel
Arriving on stage to the “House is Rockin’,” which played over the house PA system, Tritt opened with the rousing “Put Some Drive in Your Country.” He immediately catered to the crowd, making a reference to the Buckeye State during the boisterous power ballad “I’m Gonnna Be Somebody” and beckoning audience members to get riled up for “Whiskey Ain’t Working” by yelling out, “You know what I’m talkin’ about!” The rowdy crowd — some people even tailgated in the parking lot before the show — was behind him all the way, even as he busted into some cheesy dance moves during “Rub Off on Me.” He turned the house lights on for his rendition of “Take It Easy,” which again had audience members singing in unison.
Sitting in a giant chair that looked like it was a bucket seat stolen from a race car, he delivered a mid-set acoustic segment that lacked some of the urgency of the rest of the set but concluded with the vigorous instrumental “Pickin’ At It.” The song was hardly the set’s highlight, but it did show off Tritt’s skill on the acoustic guitar. And, as he told the audience, “Even if you don’t like it, act like you do.” The show got back on track with “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” — a tune that again showed his age — and “Country Club.” He closed the set with the hard rocking "T.R.O.U.B.L.E." The encore’s highlight was a cover of “Midnight Rider,” a tune for which Tritt’s husky voice was perfectly suited.
Nashville-based singer Lyndsey Highlander opened with an acoustic set and was charming enough (she graciously hung out in the lobby after her set to meet and greet fans). But the stripped down songs lost some of their power and just didn’t compare to their studio counterparts which are far moodier and darker.