Canadian Country star Aaron Pritchett might say he has ‘the most generic face in the world’, but when he steps onto the stage and smiles, there is no mistaking who he is, or what we’re in for!
Only stopping long enough to gaze at the audience and grin, Pritchett tucked right into Let’s Get Rowdy which set the tone for the rest of the night. In mere moments, a handful of the braver folk were out of their seats and onto the dance floor in front of the stage. Not one to create a barrier between his fans and himself, Aaron grinned even wider (if that’s possible) and in his easy going manner waved an invite for the rest of us to get off our butts and get closer. The dance floor quickly turned into a standing room only concert stage-front as every available spot was filled in by a body.
New Frontier and Lucky For Me followed, and although a little softer, no less energy by Pritchett or his band. You Cant Say I Didnt Love You is unfamiliar to me so it was a nice surprise, and Light It Up had the crowd singing the chorus of course! Drive, was introduced by Aaron as being written by Bryan Adams, and although bobby and a feel good song, still isn’t one of my favorites.
Pritchett switches back and forth between playing guitar and singing, or ditching the guitar and singing while he covers the entire stage! Seriously, the man’s energy is limitless. As he stops momentarily to gaze directly at people in the seats further back, the throng up front tries to capture his attention and get a hand shake or high five – and a few do. He’s playful about it – including men in the handshakes and sometimes standing ‘just’ out of reach while never missing a note.
Next song, the lights dim down a little, and within the first few notes we know it’s his new single, Coming Clean, and one can tell that this song is meaningful to Pritchett as he focuses his entire being into the song and for a few moments, the audience fades. I can hear people around me singing it under their breath as well, and realize I am too.
Done You Wrong is introduced by Aaron asking”have any of you ever been treated badly by someone?” and the comment that it’s a song about abuse against not just women, but people in general. This is the song that people talk to Pritchett about when they meet him after the show… as much as people love the party songs, its that deep emotional song that they identify with the most. Rounding out the threesome of ‘feeling’ songs was my own personal favorite, How Do I Get There. “Can a million wrong turns ever turn me around, can I ever unburn the bridges I’ve burned to the ground.” Amazing song sung ‘almost’ acoustic… shivers.
Back into the country rock mode with Hell Bent For Buffalo and a very odd, goofy song John Roland Wood in which Pritchett plays up his wicked humor and goofiness – something great to see, and I was able to see newcomer Jesse Tucker shine with his guitar work. Actually I’ve never seen the band better as this night, and more smiles on stage than ever before – proof positive that it’s fun to entertain a responsive audience.
The Weight, My Way (another personal favorite, about treating your lady right) and Big Wheel rounded out the set to thundering applause, but as one over exuberant fellow behind me kept shouting – we were still waiting to hear Hold My Beer.
A very short break and the band was back! Pritchett spoke a little of his background, about playing Roosters cabaret 15 yrs ago with the Aaron Pritchett Band (and being introduced as the APB Band – effectively being called the Aaron Pritchett Band Band) and how they’d do popular tunes with a Reggae twist, and then broke into a medley of popular rock songs with a Reggae twist! Guitar picks and a few glow in the dark bracelets were tossed liberally throughout, and then he introduced his Tour Manager Kim Stoneburg who was waiting in the wings with…. yes! a Beer. Only after being egged on by the audience to the point of not letting him sing, did Pritchett (semi) chug the beer and then broke into the song that people ‘know him best by’, Hold My Beer. The place went nuts; we all sang it at the top of our lungs and the show ended all too soon.
I’ve had the pleasure to see Aaron Pritchett in concert a few times, both acoustic and full on band. This show is THE best to date. The band was gregarious with the audience and they’ve really taken it up a notch, and especially noticeable was new to Aaron’s band Rob Becker who smiled all night long and teased the crowd up front. Pritchett too seems to have found new inspiration and seems more at ease without a guitar in hand – he and the band are interacting with each other on stage much more than before and its fun, and exciting to watch. And this night, Pritchett is resplendent in a button down shirt (sleeves rolled up), minimal jewelry (trademark big watch) and the most nose picker toe cowboy boots I have EVER seen! Love it!