The Country Music genre has always been welcoming to new acts and never is this more apparent than with Jason Aldean. Aldean’s rise to fame was slow but once he got in with the right people, it seemed there was nowhere his career couldn’t take him. With platinum records and numerous #1 hits, Aldean’s become one of Nashville’s hottest stars…and all from signing with an independent record label! With a rock steady career and numerous tours, it seemed only fitting that Aldean would eventually get a home video release of one of his nights—and a March 6th, 2009 date was chosen to showcase his talents at the Knoxville Coliseum.
On March 6, 2009, a sold out Knoxville (Tenn.) Coliseum crowd found out what millions of Jason Aldean fans already knew: he’s a rising star and a damn fine entertainer. The concert was lights out and over-the-top. Those lucky enough to attend experienced not just an I-can’t-wait-to-tell-my-friends-about-this show, but also benefited from the sum of years of hard work and determination. “Wide Open Live And More!” captures Jason Aldean at his rockin’ country best. All the hits are here—”Amarillo Sky,” “Why,” “Hicktown,” “Relentless,” “She’s Country,” “Johnny Cash,” “Laughed Until We Cried” and “Big Green Tractor”—and so are the live show favorites like “Wide Open,” “I Break Everything I Touch” and “Asphalt Cowboy,” among others. Not only does Jason sing his hits, he connects with his audience and offers them an escape, if only for the night. That’s what real entertainers do.
There are some things in life that I find truly torturous and listening to country music is one of them. Needless to say then that receiving this Blu-ray was probably one of the more horrific experiences I could’ve ever had and not only listening to it but having to watch it as well was something I never want to experience again. Nothing against Aldean, as I’m sure he’s quite a fantastic artist, but when it comes to country music there is only one other genre that annoys the bejesus out of me (that genre being rap). Having said all of that I’m probably the last person who should be watching this concert or even reviewing it…but putting myself in the shoes of just the average viewer, even I could find a couple things that were a bit disappointing.
The main issue with this concert is its run time—it’s only eighty six minutes. I don’t know about you but after driving to the arena, parking, finding the seats, paying for food/drinks, and then finally sitting down…the last thing I want to do is leave eighty six minutes later. Maybe if concerts were as easy to go to as movie theaters, but I’d expect a full two hours out of my entertaining and that’s not what we got here. Personally speaking I was ecstatic that the concert was as short as it was, but if I were a fan I’d be incredibly disappointed.
In any case, those who are a fan of Aldean can expect to hear the following songs from this concert:
01 Wide Open
02 I Break Everything I Touch
03 Amarillo Sky
05 Big Green Tractor
06 On My Highway
07 Drum Solo
08 Johnny Cash
10 You’re The Love I Wanna Be In
11 Laugh Until We Cried
12 I Use What I Got
13 She’s Country 14 Asphalt Cowboy 15 Hicktown
Overall for fans I guess this is a treat, but for me…I honestly don’t know how he “connects” with the audience. The whole line about that being “what real entertainers do” sounds like some kind of snarky comeback to something, but unless there’s some kind of country music rivalry I don’t know about, then it just sounds really, really awkward.
The set itself arrives in a standard Elite Blu-ray case…of which mine was severely screwed up. I’m not sure if the postal service played baseball with it or what but the entire top part of the case was cracked…as is part of the bottom and the pin holding the disc in was floating around…as was the disc actually. Kudos USPS! Inside the case is a booklet that talks about Aldean’s career and includes photos of the band.
Video is an AVC encoded effort and it looks as you’d expect from such a modern production – strong and clear. Deep reds from the stage lighting and coloring and plenty of great crowd and band shots make for an enjoyable looking transfer. Three audio choices, LPCM Stereo, DD5.1 and DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1 are available and, as expected, the DTS-HD wins out for surround and LFE output.
I Won’t Back Down (3:15, 1080i)
Up Close and Personal (17:51, 1080i)
I actually kind of enjoyed the “I Won’t Back Down” cover, as I enjoyed Tom Petty back when that song originally came out, but it still had a bit more of a country twang to it to the point where it still grated on my nerves.
Overall…I’m not a country music fan and Aldean didn’t convert me. He sounds like the rest of the “amazing” artists and while I’m not dumping on him, I’m also not impressed by what he brings to the table. Same ol’, same ol’ to me. Recommended for fans only…and even then…eighty-six minutes? Really?
Jason Aldean – Wide Open Live & More! arrives on DVD and Blu-ray on August 25th.