News Column

Concert Review: Blake Shelton woos crowd at Country Fest

June 27, 2014

By Jocelyn Syrstad, The Leader-Telegram, Eau Claire, Wis.

June 27--CADOTT -- It didn't take long for Blake Shelton to win over the Country Fest crowd completely Thursday.

After his opening song as the headliner for the first night of the four-day country music festival in Cadott, Shelton toasted the crowd by lifting a beer in the air and telling the thousands of fans that he came to Wisconsin for two reasons -- to play country music and to drink.

From there, Shelton had the crowd wrapped around his finger for the entirety of his 1 hour, 37 minute show.

Shelton opened with "All About Tonight," his hit from 2010. He was dressed in a button-down shirt and jeans and opted not to wear a cowboy hat that many male country vocalists choose to do -- he saved that for later.

The singer, who is married to fellow country singer Miranda Lambert and acts as a host and mentor on the popular TV show "The Voice," mixed in old songs with new.

"Doin' What She Likes" was the first song he performed off his new album, "Based on a True Story...," and it was the fourth song he played overall in his show. "The More I Drink" and "She Wouldn't Be Gone" were second and third, respectively.

Other songs he performed off his new album included "Mine Would Be You," "Sure Be Cool If You Did," "My Eyes" and "Boys 'Round Here."

Shelton also performed songs he released over a decade ago, such as his first No. 1 single, "Austin" -- "This song is the reason I'm up here singing to you tonight," Shelton said to the crowd before sitting down to perform that hit -- and other hits such as "Ol' Red" -- one of his better performed songs, as far as vocals go, of the night -- and "Some Beach."

Overall, Shelton put on a great performance. He kept the crowd entertained with his chats in between songs and his overall upbeat set.

His ballads were not as up-to-par vocally as some of his faster-paced songs, but Shelton still held his own. And any disappointment with his vocals on those songs was made up for in an acoustic rendition of "Austin" and a beautifully sung "Home."

The 38-year-old from Oklahoma made up for his lack of stage presence -- he tended to stand in one spot behind the microphone throughout the majority of the show -- by interacting with the crowd in between songs, causing eruptions of laughter and cheers.

After closing the main set of his show with "Boys 'Round Here," Shelton performed a two-song encore of "Footloose" and "God Gave Me You."

Country Fest continues Friday with performances from Maden Dixie, New Black 7, Jon Pardi, Casey James, Love & Theft, Craig Morgan and headliner Carrie Underwood.


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Source: Leader-Telegram (Eau Claire, WI)

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