Story by Mike HeineThroughout the 1990s, Garth Brooks was the icon of country music. Since he hung up the guitar and stopped touring, no one has or probably ever will be able to replace him. But Tim McGraw is darn close to reaching Garth's level of stardom in this decade and is easily seen as his closest heir apparent. (For the record, Kenny Chesney isn't all that far behind, but McGraw has the career longevity in his favor.)
Photos by Phil Bonyata
McGraw put on an opening-night main act that will be remembered by fans for years to come. The performance stretched across his career, playing his first big hit "Indian Outlaw" along with two unreleased singles. One of them, called "Lets Get Drunk and Fight," was about a couple who'd argue so they could make up and fall back in love again. The other new preview had a smooth jazz-like sound that almost blended with a 70s love tune. In a two-hour set, McGraw belted out 20 songs, and was visibly gassed at the end of his four-song encore.
He started the set with a recently released tune called "Do You Want Fries With That," one of the six songs he played off his Live Like You Were Dying album.
Others off the newest CD included "How Bad Do You Want It," "Blank Sheet Of Paper," (which he sang with his wife, Faith Hill, and tour-mates The Warren Brothers), "Live Like You Were Dying," "Back When" and "Drugs or Jesus."
McGraw brought out earlier favorites as well, including "Where the Green Grass Grows," "Down on the Farm," "I Like It, I Love It," and an encore with "Something Like That." He rounded out the set with "The Cowboy In Me" and "Real Good Man," off the Set This Circus Down and Tim McGraw and the Dancehall Doctors CDs, respectively.
The night's sailor's sky, with a perfect sunset and nearly full moon, made the McGraw concert something fans won't forget soon.
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