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March 02, 2015
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Southern Comfort

Opening act Joe Nichols connects with his audience at Bethel Woods Center for the Arts.
TRR photos by Jonathan Charles Fox


Billy Currington (“We Are Tonight”) was also in fine form and no stranger to the business, and I was lucky enough to be able to sit in while he chatted with the Thunder crew for a few minutes to express his gratitude to mega-star Luke Bryan for giving him “Good Directions,” written by Bryan and Rachel Thibodeau, which resulted in Currington’s second number-one hit. Prior to the show, he promised to “sing ‘em all,” and he did just that, as the crowd roared with appreciation, which (like most country stars I’ve encountered) he gave right back to the audience with thanks for their support. Both acts were great, but when Lady Antebellum hit the stage, the place (including this nice Jewish boy) went nuts. Opening with their hit “Compass” led the way for a string of sing-along numbers (19 all told) and between their stunning vocals and smashing production values, they proved once again, why the country shows cannot be beat. “Better Off Now,” “Our Kind of Love,” and “It Ain’t Pretty” are tunes that America knows, and they proved it during the picture-perfect concert under the stars that only Bethel Woods can provide, as the fans danced, sang and hooted it up during Antebellum’s 90-minute set, which did not disappoint. Down to earth and genuine to a fault, the trio pretended to remember me when I stopped in for a “meet and greet” and gushed over Sullivan County, the iconic arena that they “felt honored” to play and their appreciation for the fans that show up to support their never-ending love of country. You can bet that I’ll be “On the Road Again” next weekend when superstar Willie Nelson enters the Pavilion (with the amazing Alison Krauss) to kick things into high gear. Maybe I’ll wear chaps and spurs. On second thought… maybe not.