Brantley Gilbert took the Big Revival tour to SPAC in Saratoga Springs, on August 16 with great success. He was supported by Lee Brice and Cam who each brought their own unique flare to the evening.
First to take the stage was the up and coming singer, Cam. Cam was named one of Rolling Stone’s 10 New Country Artists You Need to Know for Spring 2015 because of her strong entrance to country music. She drew the attention of her current label Arista Nashville through her Kickstarter campaign to finance her first album. Fans in attendance seemed very receptive to her upbeat stage presence, strong voice and persona, and emphatic performance. Cam played songs off of her current EP, Welcome to Cam Country including “Half Broke Heart” and “Runaway Train” as well as some other songs all of which got the crowd to their feet and dancing along. Fans really started to get involved with singing along for her two last songs, also off her current EP, “Burning House” and “My Mistake”. Both songs were recognizable to a good amount of the audience based on crowd involvement. Cam did a good job engaging those who were not familiar with her or her music but had arrived early to enjoy the entire show.
Lee Brice took the stage next with a strong entrance getting attendees off their feet from the start with two fan favorites, “Drinking Class” and “Hard to Love” off of I Don’t Dance (2015) and Hard 2 Love (2012) respectively. This set the tone for the rest of his set with fans engaged and involved from the very start. This tour was a good fit for Brice as it allowed him to showcase his well crafted songs with strong lyrical content which is lacking in some of the more popular party country that has become mainstream recently. “A Woman Like You,” “I Don’t Dance” and “I Drive Your Truck” are among the most popular songs that have earned strong recognition and favor throughout the genre with their well written and heartfelt lyrics that are impossible not to sing along to. The crowd’s reaction to the songs demonstrated how strongly these songs have resonated with fans. Brice certainly does a great job of building his fan base through live performances, he is the type of artists that grows on listeners more with each listen but really makes a strong impression after hearing the songs live and feeling the emotion behind what he’s singing about. He closed out his set with a song that has become a staple for Brice since its release in 2012. “Parking Lot Party” may not be in keeping with his usual style but this upbeat song is always well received live and brings the energy in the venue up to the next level. He had everyone singing along and warmed up for Brantley Gilbert by the end of his set.
Brantley Gilbert is another artist that started to make quite the name for himself despite being outside of party country mold since his 2010 release Halfway to Heaven, however he has grown exponentially into the top-tier of A-list country stars since the release of Just as I Am in 2014. Gilbert singed to Valory Music Co. for the re-release of Halfway to Heaven and has remained there since. He kicked off his set with “Kick it in the Sticks” a single off of “Halfway to Heaven” which went platinum in the U.S. Fan favorites also played off of that album included “Hell on Wheels”, “My Kind of Crazy” and “You Don’t Know her like I Do,” all of which have become staple songs for Gilbert. “My Kind of Crazy” and “You Don’t Know Her Like I Do” were extremely well received showing off the more sensitive side of the edgy, self-proclaimed “bad boy” and never fail to make the women in the crowd dreamingly sing along. Gilbert has released his share of songs with a more party vibe mixed with rock edge that have been extremely well received and are always extremely popular live. Both “Bottoms Up” and “Small Town Throwdown” quickly became staple songs for live performances and garnered a great deal of airtime on the radio with “Bottoms Up” earning double platinum certification and “Small Town Throwdown” earning gold. These are two songs that never fail to engage the crowd and have the entire building, or amphitheater off their feet and singing along word for word. Other noteworthy songs played off of Just as I Am included the more serious “Guns and Roses”, “One Hell of an Amen”, “Lights of My Hometown” and current single “Stone Cold Sober”. Despite his “bad boy” edgy personality many of Gilbert’s most popular songs have been his more sensitive lyrically strong songs which sets him apart from many of his fellow top-tier country artists.
A word that comes to mind for many who have seen a Brantley Gilbert show at any point of his career is genuine; a genuine passion for what he does, a genuine personality, determined to hold to his southern roots and morals no matter where he goes, and genuine talent for writing and performing his own work. All throughout his work this is evident, however it becomes especially so when it comes to his morals. Two songs that have become extremely popular that exemplify his strong sense of morals are “Take It Outside” and “Read Me My Rights”. Both songs always get a strong rise out of the crowd but “Read Me My Rights” elicits such a strong response that it too has become a staple song. Gilbert always explains before the song that it is important to him because as a proud southern gentleman he would take the law into his own hands if he ever saw a man put his hands on a woman or if someone entered his home and threatened his family. He even goes on to explain that he will do what he feels needs to be done then sit with his hands behind his back waiting for the police and “politely tell the officer to read him his rights” which is his transition into the song and starts the screaming and cheering from the crowd. He closed out his set with this song and a strong U.S.A. chant. He did however return as expected for an encore with the ever popular “Country Must Be Country Wide”. This was a phenomenal song to end the night with as it is something country fans can relate to anywhere in the country.