TOWNSHIP – Brad Paisley’s energetic, upbeat and at times heartfelt performance on Monday night washed away the previous gloom from the raindrops and left fans dancing, drinking and smiling near the stage.
After the opening act Jimmie Allen, an award-winning country music artist, Paisley performed before an uncrowded Concert for Legends at the Tom Benson Hall of Fame Stadium.
The event concluded the Pro Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement Festival, which included both the 2020 and 2021 inductee classes.
An attendance figure was not available from the Hall of Fame, but there were a fair number of empty seats in a stadium that could accommodate around 18,000 people for a concert.
Rich Desrosiers, a Hall of Fame spokesperson, said ahead of the concert that some fans bought tickets specifically for Lynyrd Skynyrd and then were refunded after the legendary southern rock group canceled Canton’s appearance on Saturday because a member had contracted COVID-19.
Most of the seats in the field were filled with a pinch of vacant seats. The stadium seats, however, were less occupied.
Full or not, it didn’t seem to affect Paisley’s performance in the slightest.
With a vivid and ever-changing video backdrop, often song-related imagery, the Grammy winner and A-list country musician delivered a soft, ear-pleasing vocals with a country twang while impressively handling a guitar.
Paisley’s talent as a guitarist was especially visible during the solos, where he made his way to center stage in front of adoring and festive fans.
In addition to a slew of original hit songs, Paisley slipped in a few surprises – a single from Prince’s “Purple Rain”, quickly followed by a jaw-dropping and catchy version of Van Halen’s classic, “Hot For Teacher.”
Unscripted moments also underscored the show.
After spotting a young girl in the spotlight, Paisley handed the guitar he was playing to the child and his family.
Another time he borrowed a fan’s cell phone and pretended to order burgers and fries for the crowd.
Paisley, who appeared in a Nationwide Insurance TV commercial with former NFL star quarterback Peyton Manning, joked about the football legend, who was inducted into the hall during the festival.
Members of the military were also brought on stage during a song set against a video background of an American flag.
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