Review: Brad Paisley at First Niagara in Pittsburgh

Photo by Jason Nelson

Photo by Jason Nelson

It was an evening of great fun and a lot of laughs at the Brad Paisley concert a couple of weeks back. Paisley, well known for his rib-tickling humor, spared no joke with his tour-mates, especially Justin Moore when he brought the “Crushin’ It World Tour” to First Niagara Pavilion June 26. Despite the rainy forecast, fans came in droves for a great show.

“Expect rain when you’re driving home,” said Paisley from the stage as he opened the show. “…at 3 a.m.”

Paisley always brings pure entertainment to the stage. His background videos are often hilarious. This year was no exception with videos featuring a water-skiing squirrel and the ever-popular “Celebrity” background video which pokes fun at all the silly things famous people do and one screaming goat. This year, the video featured cartoon Brad in a variety of notable scenes – such as Miley Cyrus in “Wrecking Ball” and Kim Kardashian’s “Break the Internet” cover.

Paisley has always been fan focused. Throughout the evening he gave away two autographed guitars including one to a child near the walk out stage holding a sign that read “celebrating my 4th birthday.” He posed for pictures with fans, even took a few phones off the fans and took his own selfie videos.

Photo by Jason Nelson

Photo by Jason Nelson

Later in the evening, Paisley brought his tour mates back out for duets of his popular songs. It was no surprise he had Mickey Guyton sing “Whiskey Lullaby” and Justin Moore for “I’m Just a Guy.” Moore and Paisley were truly a pair with this song, picking on one another. It was a perfect match. They were like two best friends onstage. Paisley was very complimentary of his tour mates. Mostly.

“You certainly got your money’s worth with Mickey,” said Paisley. “And thanks for putting up with Justin.”

Paisley is no stranger to this area. Originally from Glen Dale, West Virginia, his talent was discovered first by his junior high principal and then by the program director of a Wheeling, WV radio station who invited him to perform at Jamboree USA and to eventually perform at Jamboree in the Hills. He spent many years opening for artists he idolized and is the youngest person who’s been inducted into the Jamboree USA Hall of Fame. As Paisley reminisced with fans about sitting back in the lawn for shows when he was younger, he felt compelled to head back that way to join them, performing three songs from a small stage set up under the roof towards the lawn.

Of course, probably one of the best moments of the night was when Paisley made reference to the giant television behind him. Fans knew something awesome was in store.

“What happens when a bunch of rednecks get a 60 foot television screen?” Paisley asked on stage.

Then came the familiar sound of a Nintendo game console loading. Paisley pulled a young fan on stage and had him beat Justin Moore’s high score of 10 on Mario Kart while they played “really fast.” After beating the score, Brad handed over a white guitar and said, “You can play that, now learn to play this.” The young boy seemed stunned by the gift and wasn’t sure what to do.

Opening for Brad was Justin Moore who is no stranger to Pittsburgh or to country fans. With an arsenal of hits including “Small Town USA,” “Bait a Hook,” and “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away,” it’s hard not to love Moore and he’s appreciative of his fans.

“You’ve made all my hopes and dreams come true and I can never repay that,” said Moore from the stage.

Photo by Jason Nelson

Photo by Jason Nelson

This backwoods boy certainly knows how to make the ladies go wild. Only a few songs into his set, he realized he had his own “wardrobe malfunction.” While it’s possible not many noticed from afar, those down front certainly did!

“My zipper falling down is all you get,” said Moore from the stage. “This ain’t ‘Magic Mike.”

Moore is a fantastic entertainer. There’s no flashy gimmicks with him. He’s a redneck boy and proud of it. A natural fit for a Brad Paisley tour, he had a few jokes on his bandmate, but a touching thank you for him too.

“He is incredibly talented, but he’s an even more incredible human being,” said Moore of Paisley. “Of course, he’s not nearly as pretty as Mickey.”

Kicking off the show was newcomer, Mickey Guyton. Her debut single, “Better Than You Left Me” performed well on the chart as she’s starting to emerge in the industry – but she has a long road ahead of her. As an African-American female in a white-male dominated music genre, Guyton will need to work hard to break through – but I think she has the talent to do it. Her voice sounds very much like Carrie Underwood with a rich tone and powerful sound and is complimented well by her strong stage presence. A fantastic show overall. Look for great things from Mickey Guyton.
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Review by Hayley Martin for Pennsylvania Bridges

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