PPG Paints Arena
March 24, 2018
by Kellie Gormly
Alan Jackson gave us just what we were expecting on March 24: a few hours of good, pure, fun, unembellished country music at PPG Paints Arena
“They asked me to come out here and play some real country music for y’all tonight,” Jackson drawled to the audience.
The Georgia native, a consistent superstar since the early ’90s, began his set with “Gone Country,” a classic that captures Jackson’s pure honkytonk roots. “She’s gone country, look at them boots …” – and indeed, Jackson maintains the cowboy look with boots, a Western shirt and a white cowboy hat. Many country singers in today’s watered-down genre with so much pop influence don’t dress the part like that.
Jackson is know for his low-key performing style with minimal theatrics and effects: His most common stage act is standing behind the microphone, strumming his guitar and singing his songs. This understated approach keeps the focus on the music. Jackson does, however, include fan interaction: He often walked up to the edge of the stage and autographed books and hats people on the floor would hand to him. He also threw many t-shirts and guitar picks out into the audience.
The show enhanced many of Jackson’s songs with backing video screens that didn’t detract from the live stage performance. Sweet photos from throughout Jackson’s life accompanied the tender ballad “Remember When,” and scenes from the riverside accompanied the super-fun “Chattahoochie” – a toe-tapping song that never fails to get people up from their seats and dancing.
Jackson ended his main set with the funny classic “Where I Come From,” which describes the accent and lifestyle of a Southerner in unfamiliar territory. But Jackson localized this song, even for a Northern audience, with backing scenes of Pittsburgh.