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Alan Jackson
with Wade Hayes & Emilio

A Concert Review

February 23, 1996

The Rosemont Horizon

Rosemont, IL

A Review by
The Dude on the Right
There I was, at work, trying to make the day go by, when a friend of mine calls. What does he request of me? Well, he says, "Dude, how would you like to go out and show my girlfriend a good time?" I'm thinking to myself, "Self, she's a pretty hot little number, and what's he trying to hide, and who cares because I get to show her a good time!" I tell him, "Sure," to which he replies. "Great, I have two tickets for Alan Jackson, and you know how I don't like country, and I know she is just dying to go to see him, and since I know I can trust you with my girlfriend, I thought you might want to go." Hopes and dreams dashed, he trusted me. Ah, but the night was young, so, off to the Rosemont Horizon for a little country (and who knows what else!)

We arrive at the show, a triple bill of Emilio, Wade Hayes, and Alan Jackson. A little walking around, we find our seats right behind this group of screaming teenagers, and Emilio takes the stage.

Emilio is a new guy to the big name country circuit, but what impressed me most was his stage presence - he was out there to have a lot of fun, and that pushed his acceptance with the audience. Really, as of the show, this guy only had one hit in "It's Not the End of the World." But you know, he has a lot going for him and showed a lot to the crowd of up-and-coming fans in his 25 minutes on stage. And my friend's girlfriend even liked him, well, at least she said "They always wear tight pants -I like staring at his butt." She didn't really like the "Hotel California," and I have to kinda agree. Not that the song was bad, but his up-front stage workings kept the crowd liking him even if they didn't know the songs he was singing. Stick to your own material, it's good enough to take you far. Emilio gets ONE THUMB UP from me, and a stare at his butt from my friend's girlfriend.

Now, prices at the concession stands at the Rosemont Horizon can really take their toll on a wallet, and mine was empty by the end of Emilio. But alas, a savior beckoned me. A couple of seats down from me and my friend's girlfriend was one of my other friend's ex-girlfriends. Who better to borrow money from so I could buy more drinks for my friend's girlfriend so maybe she would loosen up a little and maybe get a little blurry-eyed and stare at my butt. It was worth a shot.

So, a rush for some drink refills, and twenty minutes later brought Wade Hayes. Now, the last time I saw Mr. Hayes was opening up for Joe Diffie who opened up for Brooks and Dunn. It was either his experience with them, or maybe he read my last review, but this guy finally doesn't seem as scared up on stage in front of a bunch of thousand of fans. A few more solid hits under his belt, he highlighted all of them, and threw in a couple of new songs for the screaming teenagers to, well, scream over. But, it was during one of his "I was a rotten guy, please forgive me" songs that my friend's girlfriend wouldn't stop commenting how men are pigs, they never listen to your feelings, and should be banned from the face of the earth. I thought the night was a bust, but then Wade busted into "Where Do I Go To Start All Over," my friend's girlfriend says "great, another sappy song," but then goes to me "I'm all misty - hold me." Well, the song didn't last long enough - no chance for me, and then she made the comment of "I don't think he's wearin' underwear - those jeans are so tight." Nope, it wasn't my butt, but Wade's.

Wade improved a lot since the last time. He's finally having fun, running around the stage, and seems to not be afraid of being up on that stage anymore. Good for him, but a little lacking still so only ONE THUMB UP, better than the shrug last time. Oh yea, he also gets a stare at his butt from my friend's girlfriend.

You meet some of the funnest/wackiest people at concerts. From my friend's girlfriend next to me, to the screaming teens in front of me, to a would be kamikaze blimp driver who loves Judas Priest as well as Alan Jackson behind me. He wanted to drive the little Alan Jackson blimp that was cruising around the inside of the Horizon and crash it into people. Alright, it could be fun, but I had other things to concentrate on, that is until right before Mr. Jackson came on stage.

To my dismay, my friend's girlfriend still wouldn't look at my butt, and then, out of the blue, she says "J.D.'s a God!" with J.D. being a radio guy from US 99, the big country station here in Chicago. He came on stage to introduce Alan Jackson, and thanks to him, I had absolutely no chance of proving my friend wrong that he could trust me. Thanks J.D., see if I listen to you again. Well, I couldn't take anymore. I just wanted Alan Jackson to start.

And start he did.

Alan Jackson's part of this little evening was kinda like watching Country Music Television while the artist sang the song in your living room. Basically, the stage set-up was a very simple stage with TV screens, big screens, and videos playing during just about every one of Alan Jackson's hits.

Yep, a night of hits it was, from Chatahoochee (alright - I think I spelled it wrong - I don't have a copy of his CD, but I think you know what I mean) to "Livin' On Love," from "Tall Tall Trees" to "Don't Rock the Jukebox." If it was an Alan Jackson hit, it was probably played. Not that that's bad, it's what the crowd wanted. and I guess he is kinda supporting a greatest hits CD, so, it was a greatest hits show.

As an entertainer, Alan Jackson fits with the best of them. He runs around the stage, had some of the sharpest video coverage on the big screens, and knew how to work the crowd to love him even more than hearing him on the radio. And now you're saying "I hear a but coming along." Well, you're right. But, even though fun, the videos tended to distract me from the music of the man, he would probably be a hell of a lot more fun if he was running around wireless, and, as nice as it is to bring opening acts and spotlight them, Alan Jackson has more than enough material to support 2 hours instead of a 1 1/2 hour show.

But you know, it's not me he really needed to please, but the fans who came especially to see him, and from the teenagers in front of me trying to start their own little mosh pit to my friend's girlfriend who yes, commented that he had a nice butt, too, everyone at the Rosemont Horizon had a good time. Yep, it's TWO THUMBS UP for the Jackson man, and I don't mean Michael. And, oh yea, a stare at his butt from my friend's girlfriend, who also commented "Those red boots - they make the man!"

And so, all in all, a good evening. Lots of fun country music, and in the end, it was my friend's girlfriend who showed me a good time. Not that way - we just had fun and my friend can still trust me with his girlfriend, at least until next time when I'm wearing red boots and tight jeans!


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