Play-by-Play Concert Review
Radio DJs Buck Stevens of WBWN and Josh Roberts of Bloomington’s “The Bull” welcomed the Pontiac Crystal Palace crowd to the first of many outdoors shows headed to the rural concert venue in small town Pontiac, Ill.
Justin Moore, heading the outdoor festival fronted as Freedom Fest – appropriate considering the Fourth of July weekend – took to the stage with his band the Double Barrels. Moore opened with his “autobiographical” hit “How I Got To Be This Way” and followed this up with “Hank It”, a song tribute to country outlaw Hank Williams Jr.
Two-songs strong, Moore was well into his musical explanations of why he’s the southern man he grew up to be. Much like characters portrayed in the music he sings, Moore is a genuine down-home, good-hearted country man and is often perceived as one of the nicest artists on today’s country radio that even his family back in Arkansas would be proud.
The whole concert, regardless if the song is fast one or slow, Moore carries the stage and flatters the crowd with his cunning look and not passing up the opportunity to get off the stage walking over to a fan off to the side. Not to be caught off guard, Moore even made a little hello when a overbearing fan managed make the stage. Fortunately, security staff proved too quick for female perpetrator and quickly escorted her off the stage.
Small town songs aren’t Moore’s only good ones. His crazy songs include “Back That Thang Up”, a personal favorite, that speaks to the country gals which are his fans but throwing a farm twist to it. Right before performing his current hit single, after mentioning was number three on the country radio charts, he dedicated “If Heaven Wasn’t So Far Away” to his Grandpa. Something we’re sure that Moore’s grandpa would be proud of his success.
Just off the release of his sophomore album, Moore mixed it up with a host of covers and hits from his current CD’s titles. Performing “My Kinda Women “ and “Bait A Hook”, Moore asked the crowd to help him select which might be his next single.
Of course, the small-town crowd took to Moore’s hit “Small Town USA” and with it being the Fourth of July weekend, Moore used the opportunity to appropriately thank the military.