Gone Country: Alan Jackson at the California Rodeo Salinas
A weekly column about all things country.Posted by Melissa Daniels
We are interjecting our Texas Country Music series this week to chat about the Alan Jackson concert this past weekend, at the 102nd California Rodeo Salinas.
Last week I had the opportunity to fly down to my hometown for one of the greatest events of the year… the Salinas Rodeo! You’ll have to forgive my girlish sentiments, but growing up a country girl, I’ve always had a soft spot for rodeo. No, I don’t know everything there is to know about PBR or steer wrestling (my personal favorite), but I’ve always grown up participating in Big Week.
Luckily tradition held on for another year, and I returned for this month’s festivities, including the Saturday night performance of one of the biggest headliners this ag-town has ever seen: ALAN JACKSON!
Naturally, I flipped when the official announcement was made. A huge thanks goes out to my best friend for snagging tickets the day they went on sale, because I was NOT going to miss this. VIP tickets for the show sold out in less than five minutes, proving this to be the biggest country concert the rodeo has ever seen, and Jackson’s first fully sold out concert on the West Coast. Hats off to you, Salinas!
For those of you who are still learning the country ropes, Alan Jackson is one of the most successful male artists to come out of this genre. He has released some 19 albums, producing 35 number one singles and 50 top ten hits that have garnered him one of the most extensive lists of accolades over his 20 plus year career.
Jackson’s most recent album, Thirty Miles West, was released this past June and has already reached the number one spot on the US country charts.
Now, when you grow up on country, it’s easy to define the music of your childhood with a few names: George Strait, Garth Brooks, Shania Twain, Reba McEntire… It would be absolutely blasphemous to not top the list with Alan Jackson. Some of my best childhood memories are triggered by songs, and several are his own.
Nevertheless, Alan Jackson is a country music staple that you have to love. And if you don’t, then you don’t really love country music. It’s really that simple… (insert sarcastic wink here)
There was definitely some stress leading up to Saturday’s concert as, Jackson announced on his official website that he had come down with a respiratory and bronchial infection, which forced him to postpone his July 20th show at the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles. His Saturday performance at the Rodeo was cancelled by the noon hour, but thanks to a last minute phone call to Jackson’s reps the singer changed his mind when he realized folks had flown in from across the country to see him perform.
A special thanks to the efforts of David Drew Productions, for not only bringing in Alan Jackson, but for pulling the last minute switch up off. Jackson himself explained the situation from the stage and although he verbalized he didn’t feel his best, he pulled through and put on one hell of a show!
Despite the recent release of his album Thirty Miles West, Jackson performed mostly number one hits, which is exactly what the crowd beckoned. He covered his bases, performing hits like “Livin’ on Love,” “Summertime Blues,” “Small Town Southern Man,” “Little Bitty” and “Don’t Rock the Jukebox.”
Naturally, my personal favorite was Jackson’s single “Gone Country,” and I’ll give you one guess as to why…
Among other performed classics, Jackson played “Remember When,” “Good Time,” “Cowboys Don’t Cry,” and “Country Boy.” He also performed his latest single “So You Don’t Have To Love Me Anymore”, and “As She’s Walking Away,” a Grammy Award winning collaboration Jackson is featured on with the Zac Brown Band.
To close out the night, Jackson rocked the stage with his 2003 hit “It’s Five O’Clock Somewhere.” And although Jimmy Buffett didn’t magically appear on stage, it was the perfect way to wrap up the evening. The crowd sang word-for-word to just about every song performed and despite his less-than-par health, Jackson delivered.
With all those number ones, I felt as though I relived my entire childhood in the span of an 80 minute concert. Needless to say, I’m pretty fired up about next year’s rodeo.
The dates for the 2013 California Rodeo Salinas are slated July 18 – 21, and there are whispers circulating that Kid Rock may be the headliner for next year’s showdown. Kid Rock’s country music transition is conversation for another day, but time will tell who is confirmed for next years rodeo.