Sunday, February 12, 2012

Review: Rascal Flatts, Sara Evans and Hunter Hayes

Posted By on Sun, Feb 12, 2012 at 7:48 PM

Rascal Flatts played Verizon Arena Saturday.

For anyone who might try to quibble and suggest that Saturday night’s country concert at Verizon Arena in North Little Rock wasn’t really all that country, that Rascal Flatts was great but more Elton John than Merle Haggard, that opening act Hunter Hayes was handsome and talented and all that, but in a black T-shirt, jeans, tennis shoes and red belt he, um, didn’t remind them of George Strait, we have two words: Sara Evans.

Sorely missed from the top of the country charts for a few years, Evans returned with a new album in 2011 with plenty of great tracks, but it was her 2004 up-tempo anthem to, as she puts it, “a rotten teenage girl who falls in love with a redneck boy” — that would be “Suds in the Bucket” — that guaranteed none of the 10,417 fans in attendance left without their minimum daily requirement of traditional country.

The girl, of course, runs off with her guy, the big voice in six-inch heels delights the crowd and the evening’s a success long before the headlining act comes out. Evans has a way with a country song — well, she ought to; she’s been on stage since she was four — and with her powerful voice, she doesn’t have to do much more than stroll around in those heels and skin-tight pants, smile, wave and sing her heart out.

She covered Rod Stewart (“My Heart Can’t Tell You No”), showcased a song (“A Little Bit Stronger”) sent her way by Lady Antebellum’s Hillary Scott and displayed her versatility with hits ranging from “Coalmine” to “I Could Not Ask for More.” But Evans absolutely soared on the song many still consider to be her best, “Born to Fly,” which asks, among other things, “But how do you wait for heaven? And who has that much time?”

Evans provided enough country — pop-flavored as it may be at times — to satisfy that need and let us also enjoy the rest of the night as Rascal Flatts rocked the place out. The guys paid tribute to their musical influences with Jay DeMarcus pounding out Billy Joel’s “Piano Man,” Joe Don Rooney covering Stevie Ray Vaughn’s “If the House Is a Rockin’” and Gary LeVox offering up Stevie Wonder’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours.” (Ever heard Strait sing one of these in concert? We’re just sayin’ ...)

Lest we forget, Rascal Flatts has been a huge force in what sells as country music these days, the group is a new member of the Grand Ol’ Opry and the first single off the new album is a tune called “Banjo.” So there. And even though the guys offered up rousing versions of big hits like “Bless the Broken Road,” “What Hurts Most” and “Why Wait,” the Verizon crowd loved just about whatever they did.

That included coming back a little after 11 to encore with the well-received “I Won’t Let Go” and “He Ain’t the Leavin’ Kind.”

Hayes opened with a nice five-song set — highlighted by “Storm Warning,” his first song on the charts — that left us wanting more.

Sara Evans

Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts

Rascal Flatts

Tags: , , , ,


Speaking of...


Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-1 of 1

Add a comment

More by Bill Paddack

  • Review: Carrie Underwood at Verizon

    This time around, always-popular country star Carrie Underwood — no stranger to Verizon Arena in North Little Rock — was surrounded.
    • Apr 29, 2016
  • Live Review: Luke Bryan at Verizon Arena

    Like the girl in his ode to a short-lived summer love, country music’s reigning Entertainer of the Year had a crowd of 13,312 Friday evening at Verizon Arena twisting all night long like that old beach “Roller Coaster": Twisting and swaying and dancing and singing along.
    • Mar 14, 2016
  • Live Review: Jason Aldean at Verizon Arena

    Jason Aldean brought his brand of hard-driving, modern country music to Verizon Arena Saturday night on his aptly named Burn It Down Tour, firing up his army of fans with his sturdy rock-tinged voice, energetic stage presence and an outright blaze of pyrotechnics.
    • Apr 13, 2015
  • More »

Readers also liked…

  • Raborn reflects on Italy, at Boswell Mourot DATE CHANGE

    It's a quick show, so don't put it off: "An Italy Experience: Reflections on the Past and Present," figurative work by Laura Raborn, is at Boswell Mourot Fine Art Feb. 28 through March 5. March 21-April 2.
    • Mar 18, 2015
  • Listen to Lo Thraxx's new mixtape, 'Sharkansas'

    "Sharkansas," the new mixtape from Little Rock rapper Lo Thraxx has been one of our most anticipated local releases of the year, and it's out as of this afternoon. It features Two 9's Curtis Williams, Raz Fresco, Houston rappers Doeman and Roosh Williams, plus production by Fresco Grey, Trakksounds and others.
    • Mar 13, 2015
  • Arkansas Times Recommends: A Literary Edition

    Arkansas Times Recommends is a series in which Times staff members (or whoever happens to be around at the time) highlight things we've been enjoying this week.
    • Jul 1, 2016

Most Shared

  • Welfare for the wealthy: More reasons to VOTE NO on ISSUE 3

    Voices on the left and right are lifted against Issue 3, the corporate welfare amendment to send tax money to private business and corporate lobbyists.
  • Little Rock police kill man downtown

    Little Rock police responding to a disturbance call near Eighth and Sherman Streets about 12:40 a.m. killed a man with a long gun, Police Chief Kenton Buckner said in an early morning meeting with reporters.
  • From the mind of Sol LeWitt: Crystal Bridges 'Loopy Doopy': A correction

    Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art is installing Sol Lewitt's 70-foot eye-crosser "Wall Drawing 880: Loopy Doopy," waves of complementary orange and green, on the outside of the Twentieth Century Gallery bridge. You can glimpse painters working on it from Eleven, the museum's restaurant, museum spokeswoman Beth Bobbitt said

Visit Arkansas

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

Searching for diamonds at Crater of Diamonds State Park

A venture to this state park is on the must-do list for many, the park being the only spot in North America where you can dig for diamonds and other gemstones and keep your finds.

Most Recent Comments



© 2016 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation