From the opening song “I Can’t Change the World” (off his 2013 studio release Wheelhouse), Brad Paisley once again proved why he is one of country music’s greatest performers. In a genre of music where solo artists aren’t known for writing their own songs or playing lead guitar, especially electric, he’s one of the few country artists who can go toe to toe with any guitarist.
Paisley’s concert at the Sleep Train Amphitheater in Chula Vista proved that Paisley can still draw a huge crowd — close to 20,000, in fact — even without supporting a new studio album. His upcoming album isn’t due until fall of this year, but it will have some heavy hitters, including Mick Jagger and John Fogerty.
He performed his newest single, the Demi Lovato duet “Without a Fight,” with a video of Lovato on the video wall that served as his stage backdrop. Unfortunately we weren’t as lucky as his audience was the night before in Irvine, when Lovato made a surprise appearance and sang the song live with Paisley.
The night also included “I’m Still a Guy,” in which he performed alongside opening act Tyler Farr. Many hits were performed as well: “Celebrity,” “Ticks,” “Mud on the Tires,” and the crowd favorite “Alcohol.” With his 12th album on the horizon, Paisley and his band The Drama Kings have plenty of material to choose from to keep their audiences entertained for two hours.
The night started with rising country duo of Maddie & Tae, who after only one EP and one studio album, have already received multiple “duo of the year” nominations by the Academy of Country Music and Country Music Awards. They performed 2014’s “Girl in a County Song” — sure to be the first of many hits for Maddie & Tae — which is about how male country singers typically sing about women in their songs.
Also supporting Paisley on this tour is Tyler Farr, who has a much different resume than most country singers: he’s a classically trained opera singer. Time will tell whether or not his career will be “Better in Boots.”