Results tagged ‘ Rays Saturday night Concerts ’
You know to this day people all around the World still possibly daily refer to him as “Hootie” and not by his given name. But that is one of the drawbacks of being a singer in a band. Sometimes your name can get lost in shuffle. Missed by millions when even on the CD cover it lists you name as Darius Rucker, not “Hootie”. You have to wonder if anyone ever called Ian McCulloch by the name “Echo” since he fronted Echo and the Bunnymen.
But even with the common name snafu hitting his ears every day, you have to think Rucker has risen above the strife and is feeling pretty good about his solo career. Sure the South Carolina native might get a little annoyed at the constant name misfortune, but after 5 studio albums and 6 Top 40 chart hits…you can let some things slide.
Rucker also has a unique Rays connection line having just playing in a golf foursome with Rays fan Kevin Costner and Bill Murray at the PGA Pebble Beach National Pro-Am where Rays All Star Third Baseman Evan Longoria also attended.
Rucker name has been “officially” announced by the Tampa Bay Rays (I told you via Twitter months ago) for the Saturday, May 14 show after the 4:10 pm Baltimore Orioles contest. Especially great is that on May 13th, Rucker will celebrate his 45th birthday (May 13,1966). So maybe Rucker and I can celebrate together since that concert date is also my birthday. Since the Rays have gone 0-13 on that date (May 14th), possibly Rucker & I can high-5 after he helps us break our losing streak on that date (I am betting on it).
Most people might not know that Rucker finished his first solo R&B album back in 2002 and the album did not chart any of the singles. Then six years later after signing with Capitol Records and redefining himself more towards his Southern roots, his first single “Don’t Think I Don’t Think About It” showed if he stayed true to his country twang, he was on the road again to stardom.
Another really amazing thing to come about after the release of this first single off his “Learning to Live” CD is that Rucker became the first African-American artist to chart a number 1 hit since ex-baseball player Charlie Pride back in 1983. Suddenly the World rediscovered Rucker in this solo light and he also had hits like “It Won’t Be Like This for Long” and “Alright” shoot up the charts to the top spot, with “History in the Making” falling just short at number 3.
Still the rejuvenation of his music also made him the first African-American artist to ever win the New Artist Award at the CMA Awards in 2009. It was also only the second time that an African-American singer had ever won an award from the Country Music Association (Pride was also the first). His latest Cd ” Charleston, South, Carolina 1966“ pays homage to his hometown and the year of his birth.
You can bet his father, who Rucker only saw on Sundays since he was a singer in the gospel band called “The Rolling Stones” is now glad his son decided to follow his childhood dream of singing. Looking forward to hearing Rucker sing in Tropicana Field,. I am wondering if it will happen on “Country Night“, or possibly the popular “90’s Night“.
No matter what themed night Rucker performs on it has to feel like a million miles away from his stint on the celebrity “Who Wants to Be a Millionaire?” , as the singer at Tiger Wood’s wedding (along with the rest of the Blowfish) or as the chicken tender crisp cowboy on a Burger King television ad.
Rucker, an avid sports fan who has the Miami Dolphins logo tattooed on his body knows that when life throws you a curveball, you just lean back and crank it to the Moon. That is the type of clutch singer who could end a Rays May 14th losing streak. Heck, maybe we can get lucky enough to hear Rucker do another stirring National Anthem like the one he did at this year’s past Sugar Bowl game in the Superdome. He sure sounds amazing in domes!
It was back in 1997 when I moved to the Florida Panhandle up within spitting distance of the Alabama border that I got to have my first huge meal of Country music and began to savor as a symbolic method of expression of my Southern heritage. I had been that rock guy who moved to this region of the state sometimes known as the “Redneck Riviera” and expreienced firsthand the music and the lifestyle usually shown only on videos. Some people call it “simple music”, but I consider it the purest form of musical expression we have in our American culture. Sure we developed and introduced the world to rock and roll, but Country brought rock its soul way before
Elvis used his pelvis to swoon the Nation.
And maybe I was either lucky or just the timing was right as Country music then was transforming itself towards certain rock and roll roots and left some of its traditional sights and sounds to embark in another direction. It was the sunrise of artists like Garth Brooks, Lonestar and Clint Black that gave me my Country foundation, and I ate it up like a slab of pork ribs kissed by the essence of tasty rubs and smoke. I had begun a musical transition that stays with me even today. But when I got my first nibble of Country at the Billy Bowlegs Festival in Destin, Florida, it had me hook,line and sinker from that moment.
And Dierks Bentley has been high on my list of budding Country artists every since his debut album, and the hit “What Was I Thinking” hit the Country Billboard charts. But Bentley is also one of those artists that can transcend the usual “Country” streotypes and provides a show that is high energy and also riddled with greats songs and musical influences from Bluegrass to bona fide old Country licks like the twang of the steel guitar and high notes of the banjo. Bentley is one of the new genratioin of Country artists that embraced the move towards the mainstream, but also remembers his roots with passion and enthusiasm. Bentley definitely took the Rays/Hess Express Saturday Night Concert Series to a new high level of grand old music that makes the hips sway.
But I got to tell you, he showed us some of his new stuff off his recent “Up on the Ridge” album release, which has more sounds based within the guidelines of Bluegrass than your usual Country, and I am going to my local store today to buy that CD, because it was an amazing slice of Tennesse-based Americana, and I am hungry to hear more of it. Not sure why, but I like to hear the banjo and ther steel guitar struming loud and proud from the stage. And mixed with the charisma and musical charms of Bentley on Saturday night, it almost became intoxicating to my senses. To say I had a great time would be taking something great from the experience. It was that proverbial “blast of the past” for me, and we all know how the Renegade loves nostalgia.
And as usual for me, I went totally bananas taking over 500+ photos of the concert thyen spent the last two days in my moment away from the Trop trying to figure out which one were worthy and which needed to be trashed. So I popped in Bentley’s first self titled album “Dierks Bentley” and began the hard task of trying to bring the best to the surface, but the music kept interrupting the flow as I began to sing along with some of the great sounds parading from the computer speakers. It had in me in sucxh a lather I had to click on my ITunes desktop icon and download a few more traks to add to the musical mix of selecting photos for this blog entry.
I began to again live the performances in my mind as a deleted and edited photo after photo while listening to the energy of “Feel that Fire” or the slow beats of “Settle for a Slowdown.” With every beat coming from that stereo system I was again loving stands inb the crowd at Tropicana Field enjoying Bentley’s music bouncing off the white fabric and making it way down to my ears. It was surely one of the best concerts of this season, and maybe in the Top 5 of the always evolving Rays Concert series. And with banter and charm of Bentley made the crowd intense and totally in the moment with him as he went from song to song with great transitions and amazing vocals.
This was definitely another Rays Concert event that made me glad the Rays have instituted these concerts into their Saturday night lineup and has be already excited and anxious for Barenaked Ladies. The band people, not the club. But in all seriousness, tonight’s concert was the best Country offering by the Rays since Trace Adkins ushered in the first musical Country night two years ago. Doesn’t seem like that long ago, but the music and the Rays games have seemed to flow togewther in perfect harmony and rhythm since their inception.
I was asked by someone last night at the Tampa Bay Rays game after the Dierks Bentley concert if I coiuld provide a few more additional photos that the usual 20-30 that I submit during my concert posting,and I decided to add a few here,plus give you a link to my other site where I store my photos from all the Rays concerts, plus some additional photos hidden in the numerous photo files. So I hope you enjoy this fast journey through Saturdays night’s Rays/ Hess Express Saturday Night Concert event again and also take a moment to mosey over to the link and see some additional photos.
Hope you enjoyed this fast romp back into the past last night at the Rays concert. I have got to go get ready to head out to the Trop for the series deciding game between the Rays and Marlins, butI will throw up ,y review of the Dierks Bentley concert soonand hope that you mosey on back and check it out. But, before I head off into the Rays sunset,let me throw out a link to my photo storage area where you can stroll through last night’s concert file, and maybe check out some of the other photo files hidden on this website. Catch ya’ll at the Trop.
I headed to the Tampa Bay Rays Saturday afternoon game wearing my jeans, an old Disney character polo and of course, my old Air Force Ones. It wasn’t Nostalgia Day or even 80’s Day, it was my own way of celebrating Hip Hop Night at Tropicana Field. Think about that wording for a minute…Hip Hop at the Trop…..Word to your Mother!
People seem to forget if it wasn’t for Nelly’s emerging talent at the mic he, Nelly might have made his way someday onto the Field Turf of the Trop on his own as a baseball player. He had some mad skills in the middle infield growing up and could turn the corner on a double play like his idol, former St. Louis Cardinal Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.
And as soon as the ball settled into the Tropicana Field stands, and the team concluded their on-field Team Meeting with Aybar as the guest speaker, then it was Aybars turn to get a ceremonial shaving cream pie to his face and head and begin getting in Nelly mode. I was already feeling the rhythm and the pulse of the bass to get out on the field and take a spot where the photos would fall like rain, and the crowd would swing in unison to the verses and song of the minstrel named Nelly. But I made a cardinal sin ( at least in my book).
I had a photographer’s pass from the Rays and I wanted to get deep into the action, so I posted up on a L-shaped corner in the right end of the “Mosh Pit”. At that moment it just seemed like a natural move and perfect move going from shooting the Rays first concert from the middle sections for John Fogerty, to right behind the VIP section during ZZ Top, to down in the pulsating action and sea of motion of the proverbial front row. It seemed like a natural progression….But a hasty mistake on my part.
For I had put myself in the eye of the swallowing storm on the wrong side of the steel barriers. I have been in the front rows tons of times before, but not with a camera, and surely not with a group of most teens to 20-ish fans who wanted to move and groove to every single sound wave of beat or vocals coming out of the supercharged bass system right in front of the assembled mass. From the first deep drumbeat from the DJ, there was pushing and shoving from the side and back as people began to crush forward wanting a taste of Nelly and the music.
But then again, I would have done the same thing myself 20-odd years ago. Well, I know I did. And the audience was definitely transfixed as the beats got deeper, and the crowd behind me got more animated and pulled into the rhythm and music. Out of the 480 photos I took that night, I had to trash about 200 photos due to the hands in front of the camera lens or small waves of motion around me that caused the photo to appear out of focus produced by my arm and shoulder constantly getting hit during filming. But I took the commotion and the frustration in stride as I got popped like a pinball for a few songs but within me I now wished I had taken a position on the stage side of the barrier.
But the music was the center of everyone’s attention tonight as even some of the Rays players like Carl Crawford,Dioner Navarro, Reid Brignac, Joaquin Benoit, Matt Garza and B J Upton swayed and rocked to the beats while doing their own version of Nelly Karaoke on the West side of the stage region. Upton seemed to be totally into the concert as you could see him singing the words and doing his own set of dances to the beats. It was great to see the players having as much fun as the Rays fans that night.
And it is sometimes weird that Hip Hop has now been around long enough to have Nelly “classics” like “Ride Wit Me“ , “Air Force Ones” and “Batter Up“. I still remember watching the first broadcast of MTV at a college viewing party complete with free MTV swag and music until we left transfixed by this new style of selling the music to the public. How much we have all grown accustomed to this video and music combination that now most of us never hear the song without also seeing a video interpretation of the song at the same time.
And from the moment Nelly first emerged wearing a stylish white Rays T-shirt, the crowd on the field and in the stands were immediately consumed by the tunes and the chatter from Nelly. From his classic Nike Air Force Ones on his feet, to the diamond-encrusted dog tags, and glittering diamond watch bevel, Nelly was quickly transporting us to a part of St. Louis with his music we would never venture into alone. We were taken instantly into Nelly-ville, and he was the Mayor and the man that was definitely large and in charge.
And the Trop almost seemed to take flight the moment Nelly as his crew began to sing ” E.I.” as well as “C
ountry Grammar“. The moment the first beats hit the speakers, the entire crowd began systematically swaying and singing to the tunes. It was definitely a well needed audience participation segment, and the assembled crowd did not disappoint as it rang out loud to an almost deafening level all around me. But people forget, it was not all about the music tonight.
But people forget it was not entirely about the music tonight as there was a large amount of young and older women inching towards the front of the stage area hoping to catch an eye glance with Nelly or getting some sort of savoring trinket to take home and cherish forever. At that moment you knew the focus and the attention was firmly bulls-eyed on Nelly as the player of the moment. When one of his crew announced he had a gig later that night at a local St. Petersburg nightclub, it was the assembled women who screamed and quickly asked the surrounding people the 5 W’s of finding this club. Nelly was in full effect, and the ladies were going to be in massive tow tonight at the Push Lounge.
And with that announcement, Nelly had just found the perfect segway to pop into his classic “Hot in Here” as he quickly removed his Rays white t-shirt and threw it straight into the teeth of the crowd as people frantically pulled and yanked and finally separated the t-shirt into two sections before it fell into someone’s hands firmly encasing the prized possession for the night like a prized jewel. It was a white Rays gift from one of the Hip Hop chosen ones, and it now had to be guarded and cherished from that moment.
And as Nelly let the crowd know about his forthcoming album to be released some time this Summer you could feel the crowd letting go a bit knowing their dream might end soon. Usually when a singer or group mentions this tidbit, it is nearing the end of the concert. And when he asked for three volunteers from the audience the sound was deafening as every woman within reach of the stage began cheering and more than eager a chance to be on stage with the Hip Hop icon. Three women were finally selected and it was the beginning of some interesting final moments to the concert.
Nelly even gave one of the chosen ones a photo opportunity of a lifetime as she snapped a photo with her phone of Nelly facing her with the screaming crowd behind him. Then he quickly quizzed them as to their singing abilities and then broke into his tune “Dilemma” which he did originally as a duet with former Destiny’s Child singer Kelly Rowland.
The girls instantly fell into the rhythm and the rhymes of the song and began to sing and dance along with Nelly and his crew. It was one of the slowest moments of the concert, but helped the crowd recharge a bit before the night ended too soon for so many in the crowd. People wanted to hear every song from all his album in his unique styling that some have called a “Missouri Twang”.
The night quickly condensed into a meandering of unforgettable song hooks based on schoolyard songs with double-dutch chants. But what is amazing is the simple fact most people do double dutch lyrics as a rap, while Nelly has primarily done them in song, which is a major reason so many see him as a Hip Hop icon. The night was truly an adventure into Nellyville (also the title of his 2nd album) that I will not soon get out of my head.
But that is the thing about great music no matter what the format or lyric style. If it is good, it stays with you for a while and maybe drills into your subconscious for a future moment or even visual stimulation brings it out again for a great memory. People say that Rap or Hip Hop artists are this generation’s storytellers. They give their versions of the action and stories of life through their musical lyrics and prose. Nelly is a great example of this sage of wisdom and urban existence being told through music. And through it all, we also get a chance to see life through Nelly’s eyes.