Brad Paisley’s H2O Tour made its way through the “Sunshine State” this weekend. I attended the Daytona Beach stop on Thursday at the Ocean Center. The venue was the perfect place to see the H2O Tour as it sits right across the street from the beach, how appropriate! As promised, the H2O Tour brought more than just music to Daytona. The Water World Plaza was complete with games and a dunking booth!
Music started early, with the first artist taking the stage at the Water World Plaza around 4:30 pm. Easton Corbin was up first. He played songs from his debut album including his first two singles, “A Little More Country Than That” and “Roll With It.” Fans really seemed to get into “Roll With It,” maybe he has another #1 on his hands! He also threw in a great cover of Don Williams’ “It Must Be Love.” It still amazes me just how much Corbin sounds like a young George Strait!
Steel Magnolia was up next. The duo seemed to have fun on stage, but you would never know that Meghan and Josh are really a couple from their performance. They seemed to be pretty distant. I tried to snap photos of them together, but it was tough because it seemed like they were always on opposite sides of the stage. The crowd sang along to “Keep On Loving You” and their new single, “Just By Being You.”
The Water World Plaza was packed by the time Josh Thompson came out. Josh was definitely my favorite performer on the outside stage. Even though he’s a fairly new artist, he’s a really good entertainer and knows how to work the stage. Fans raised their beers and sang along to “Beer On The Table” as well as other songs from his debut album Way Out Here. I’ll definitely be seeing Josh again, he’s great!
Fans made their way inside the Ocean Center for Justin Moore’s set which started at 7:30. You could tell that Moore was excited to open up the show. He thanked Brad for having him out on the road and the fans for making his “Small Town USA” reach the top spot. I must say, I don’t really get into his music all that much, but he did a good job covering the stage and connecting the the audience. He sang fan favorites from his debut album including, “Back That Thing Up,” “Backwoods,” and “How I Got To Be This Way.”
As always, I was excited to see Darius Rucker. Country music is such a natural fit for him and I’m so glad that the genre has welcomed him in with open arms. Rucker opened his set with “Forever Road,” one of my favorites from his album, Learn To Live. Fans loved it when he sang a few Hootie & The Blowfish hits. He also sang his new single “Come Back Song” (which I LOVE!). I am really looking forward to his new album. In honor of the H2O Tour, Rucker closed out with a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain.”
Paisley took the stage just after 9pm. He opened up his set with “Water” and as he tweeted the day before the show, he got to “sing the words “Daytona Beach” to Daytona Beach.” Paisley went on to sing hit after hit including “Online,” “American Saturday Night,” “Welcome To The Future,” and “Mud On The Tires.”
About half-way through his set, Paisley turned the “cheap seats” in the back of the arena into front row seats as he walked down the floor to a small stage (complete with a fake diving board) in back. He sat down on the diving board and played a few songs acoustically. I loved hearing him do “Fishin’ In The Dark!”
To close out the show, Steel Magnolia, Josh Thompson, Justin Moore, Darius Rucker, and Easton Corbin joined Paisley on stage for “Alcohol.” It was the perfect way to end the show.
One of my favorite things about Paisley’s shows is the fact that you can tell that he is really involved in all of the planning; his personality stands out in everything from the set design to the videos that play on the giant screens behind him. As I said last fall when I saw Paisley, I am still surprised that he has yet to win the Entertainer of the Year award. It’s clear that he puts a lot into his shows and he’s definitely deserving of it. Before closing out the show, Paisley made a point to thank everyone for coming and spending their hard-earned money on tickets.
Brad did a fabulous job of turning a concert into an experience for fans. Many artists have tried to pull this off in the past, but I think Paisley has perfected it. For less than $60-$70 fans got to enjoy close to 7 hours of great music- you can’t beat that! You definitely get your money’s worth at the H2O Tour!