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September 22, 2016

Rascal Flatts Soars

MBRTailgating, cowboy hats and Daisy Duke denim were out in full force Saturday night as the country trio, Rascal Flatts, brought their American Living Unstoppable Tour to the Comcast Center.

Darius Rucker, ticketed as the opening act, recently made the jump from 90s pop sensation to a country-singing leader. His set was high-powered and truly entertaining, as he began the night with a great variety of songs ranging from his recent number one selling country singles “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It”, “It Won’t Be Like This for Long,” and “Alright” to covers of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”

The song with the biggest reaction of his set was the spirited revisit to the Hootie & the Blowfish big seller, “Only Wanna Be With You.”

It’s safe to say that the crowd left the amphitheater knowing him as Darius, but was still yearning for a little Hootie.

However, the impending rain did nothing to damper the spirits of the fan base of all-ages. Holding on to the last days of the summer season, the crowd energetically sang along to the Rascal Flatts’s opening number “Summer Nights” – a song celebrating Igloo coolers, flip flop tans and bonfires on the beach.

The sold out crowd was treated to a high intensity show full of pyrotechnics, numerous video screens displaying the band’s music videos, fan reactions and song lyrics and red white and blue laser lights that gleamed brightly against the cloudy gray skies.

Perhaps the biggest country act at the moment, and arguably a pop crossover band, the Rascal Flatts are known for their albums’ mushy love ballads like “What Hurts the Most”, or party-inspiring tunes like “Me and My Gang.” Yet surprisingly, when live in concert, the trio’s rock ‘n’ roll edge appeared. Screaming guitar riffs and the blazing sounds of the fiddle were perfectly matched against the powerful voice of lead singer Gary LeVox.

Lead guitarist Joe Don Rooney and bassist Jay DeMarcus were also given their shining moments. In an attempt to revisit their Nashville days singing on a front porch, Rooney and DeMarcus gave LeVox a break and led the crowd in a medley of their favorite “front porch” songs. With DeMarcus taking over the piano and Rooney on the guitar, the two played “Lean On Me” and “Backwards.”

Rascal Flatts delighted fans and played most of their number one hit singles, and the crowd’s reactions to each song made the night feel like a glorified karaoke event. The audience and the band were serenading each other with the ballads, “Bless the Broken Road,” “My Wish,” and “Here Comes Goodbye,” the band’s latest number one country single.

Strangely enough, the song “Unstoppable,” which the tour and their newly released sixth studio album were named after, was not a part of Saturday night’s set list. However, numbers like “Fast Cars and Freedom,” “Prayin’ for Daylight,” and “Love You Out Loud” kept the crowd gyrating and partying.

The two-hour show ended with a three-song encore filled with covers. Rascal Flatts’ remakes of Tom Cochrane’s “Life is a Highway” and the Beatles’ “Revolution” had the crowd begging for more. Darius Rucker joined the Rascal Flatts in the final number of the evening. Together, they performed an exuberant rendition of a song from Rucker’s former band, Hootie & the Blowfish, “Hold My Hand.”

 

Anshalee Guarnieri can be reached at aguarnie@student.umass.edu.

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