CONCERT REVIEW: Sunday night country

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First Posted: 8/26/2013

After selling out amphitheaters and stadiums all over the country – including two nights at Boston’s fabled Fenway Park last month – Jason Aldean brought the summer’s hottest country show to Scranton on Sunday.

“The 2013 Night Train Tour,” featuring Aldean along with Jake Owen and Thomas Rhett, rolled into the Toyota Pavilion at Montage Mountain for a large, rowdy crowd on Sunday evening.

“This don’t feel like a Sunday night, man,” Owen said following the third song of his hour-long set.

Owen, the 2009 Academy of Country Music Top New Male Vocalist, took the stage at 8 p.m. with “Anywhere with You,” a song from his upcoming fourth album. He kept the hits coming as he ran through crowd-pleasers such as “The One That Got Away,” “Alone with You,” “Yee Haw” and “Pass a Beer” in quick succession.

As loud as the response was to Owen and his hits, the noise was easily eclipsed in the first few moments of Aldean’s performance as the Georgia-bred singer took over and turned Scranton into a “Crazy Town.”

After super-charged performances of his latest No. 1 hit, “Take a Little Ride,” and “Tattoos on This Town,” Aldean mentioned his latest album “Night Train” and the fact he wanted to play some of that disc’s new tunes in addition to the big hits going back to his first album.

“In other words, drink up and have a good time, we’re gonna be here a while,” he said.

Following new tune “When She Says Baby,” Aldean treated his fans to a nice rendition of the ballad “The Truth” and his early hit “Johnny Cash,” as a giant, yellow-labeled Sun record of the late singer’s “Folsom Prison Blues” filled the video screen.

Aldean hit his stride in the middle of his 90-minute set with “Amarillo Sky,” his latest single “Night Train,” and “1994.”

When a hologram of Kelly Clarkson appeared to sing the No. 1 duet “Don’t You Wanna Stay” with the cowboy-hatted singer, many in the audience had to look twice to realize she wasn’t actually on stage. (Clarkson will be at the Toyota Pavilion in the flesh next Sunday to close out the summer season with Maroon 5.)

Aldean then worked his way down the home stretch with a great version of Alabama’s “Tennessee River,” (which he told the crowd he recently recorded with the legendary band for a tribute/comeback album) and his own big hits “Big Green Tractor” and “She’s Country.”

After briefly leaving the stage, Aldean stormed back for a three-song encore including an awesome rendition of John Mellencamp’s “Pink Houses.” His own hits “My Kinda Party” and “Hicktown” kept the audience on its feet and screaming as the concert wrapped up just past 11 p.m.