McGraw pleases crowd with Southern voice

By COREY NOLEN / For the Reporter

If you’re a country music fan, you probably don’t have to be told that Tim McGraw was in concert Tuesday night at the Verizon Wireless Music Center.

If you’re a Tim McGraw fan, you probably were not disappointed.

With seemingly endless potential for a set list, McGraw played enough old stuff to appease the crowd while trying out a handful of new tunes from his most recent studio effort.

When Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors took the stage, you could barely keep count. At one point there were as many as six guitar players. In fact two of them actually stopped playing to interact with the crowd. The music sounded the same. However, despite threatening to be overstaffed, these musicians were no doubt some of the best in country music.

McGraw prides himself and his music on using the same musicians in the studio as he does on the road. The camaraderie this has promoted over the years becomes very apparent from the stage and thus to the audience.

McGraw, as well as most other artists who travel through the Heart of Dixie, did his homework. One of his new songs “Southern Voice” was sung to a backdrop of images of people that ranged from Martin Luther King Jr. to Dale Earnhart. It was no surprise however that the image of Bear Bryant garnered more praise than any of the other influential people shown and actually rivaled the applause McGraw himself received after leaving the stage for the first time.

Predictably McGraw exited the stage well before time to quit and returned to a worrisome yet hopeful crowd to perform a couple acoustic songs with his two chief songwriters.

It was McGraw’s adaptation of David Allan Coe’s “The Ride” that closed out the set stunning many spectators as they seemed to wonder why he chose someone else’s song to close things down when he had countless number one hits he had not yet performed. Potentially more disappointing to some was the complete absence of McGraw’s wife Faith Hill. Nashville’s only 3 hours away.

Never the less, if you came to see a no frills country music concert by one of the biggest acts in the business, not many things would be able to take away from your experience.

Though there were few if any standout moments in the concert, McGraw’s “Live Your Voice” tour will no doubt continue to fill the venues and make this tour one of the most successful of 2008.