Tim McGraw - Salt River Fields - 8/10/13
Photos by Caleb Haley Tim McGraw
Salt River Fields
August 10, 2013
Tim McGraw delivered a concert nothing short of excellent Saturday night, when he brought his highly anticipated and publicized Two Lanes of Freedom Tour to Salt River Fields. The country veteran proved he still has what it takes to excite fans with a live performance that propelled him enthusiastically from one side of the stage to the other while firing off a greatest hits montage spanning his 20-year musical career.
By 6 o'clock the baseball field was noticeably crowded, but by 8 there wasn't any room left to move. The attendance was higher than I had ever seen at the field. Fans stood in lines for vendors and sat on blankets in the grass while cooling themselves and each other with cardboard fans from the KNIX 102.5 and KMLE 107.9 booths.
The crowd had all the necessary attributes of a country concert: The beer flowed freely; bikini tops, cowboy boots and hats were spread as far as the eye could see; women competed to see whose cut-off shorts could be the shortest. I stepped in wads of chewing tobacco on multiple occasions.
Accompanying McGraw on the bill were country newcomers Chelsea Bain, who kicked off the evening, and Dakota Bradley. Both acts fit into the evening smoothly and delivered solid performances to round out the show.
Bradley explained during the performance that it was his 20th birthday, and when the massive audience wished him a happy birthday while he walked the stage, guitar slung at his side, it was obvious he was smiling uncontrollably. For good reason: opening for Tim McGraw is a hell of a birthday present for anybody. He then dove into a mature and introspective original song about never wanting to grow up.
A few minutes before nine the lights went down on stage. A wave of cheers swept across the field as fans rose to their feet and stood on their chairs in anticipation for Tim McGraw.
McGraw charged out of the darkness to the front of the stage, clapping his hands and tore into the opening verse of "Where the Green Grass Grows". By the third song he'd climbed off of the stage and was shaking hands and giving high fives to his fans standing in the first few rows.
Between songs, McGraw drank a seemingly endless supply of Red Bull and joked with the crowd by telling them the louder they were, the longer he'd play. Toward the beginning of his set he introduced the eight other members of his band who were on stage with him to piece all the music together.