St. Louis area’s Annual Fair held at picturesque Forest Park, was the setting for a spectacular opening night of Country Music and giving Thanks to Service Men & Women for their dedicated Service for our Country! A tribute which was befitting this Holiday Weekend! Performers, Natalie Stovall and The Drive, Parmalee, & Chris Young opened up & ended the Fair in effervescent fashion!
First up were Violin, Fiddle, and Guitar playing, Natalie Stovall and her band, The Drive. This larger than life Kimberly Perry (The Band Perry) lookalike, with an equally large voice had the crowd enjoying old tunes, new tunes, a mash up of songs, and string playing ability like no other…all accompanied by her band mates who traipsed around the stage as if it were a football field!
Stovall started her performance with “Heartbreak” and her latest Single “Little Mason Jar” after which she remarked about how cool it was to hear her song on Country Radio & to see the video was a thrill! During the beginning of her next song, all the electronics went dead! After a quick fix, she went on to sing a crazy mash-up of tunes; Zeppelins’ “Black Dog”, AC/DC’s “Back in Black”, continuing with “Hurricane”, “Beat it”, some Lenny Kravitz, then continued with “Freebird”, infused with a touch of Deep Purple, then ended with a killer drum solo!
She sang old tunes, like “Long Way Around”, “Bone”, and a brand new Single called “Miss You the Most”; a song she co-wrote, after talking with a Soldier during her “Boot Campaign Tour” in the Middle East. The Soldier told her how he had just gotten married and was deployed shortly after & how much he missed his new bride! Her set ended with a rendition of “Devil Went Down to Georgia”, infused with a few guitar licks from Metallica’s “Enter Sandman”!
Parmalee was next up in this trio of outstanding, energetic artists! They began the evening with “I’ll Bring the Music” and their Single “Calling You Mine” and an awesome take on Bob Segar’s “Nigh Moves”. This group from North Carolina came on stage like veteran rockers! This band of 2 brothers, a cousin, and good friend, had great command of the stage & the interactions between all of them was fantastic! Their abilities showed that playing more than 1 instrument was a piece of cake!
They displayed such talent by 1 band member dueling drums with his band mate…ending with the 2 switching positions!
They spoke about their younger years hanging in the back of Dad’s pickup listening to songs back then, reflecting about grew to love music which lead them to where they are now! As the band naturally took command of the crowd, they sang old tunes like Marvin Gaye’s “Let’s Get it On” & The Allman Brother’s “Midnight Rider”, finishing with a little “Thinking Out Loud” by Ed Sheeran, a perfect blend of old and new! Of course the night of outdoor fun, country music, and “drinks”, the group took to discussing Fireball shots, blending it perfectly with a satirical take on Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball”, which proved to be a crowd fav! Their 1hour set includes other songs like “Met You in The Summer”, “Dance”, and concluding with their #1 Smash hit “Carolina”!
Last, but not least was Country Crooner Chris Young! Chris’ set was classy, up tempo, and a little of the soft & slow! To start he entered the stage from a revolving door in the middle of the back screen to his song “A.M”. The Title song from his last LP was upbeat and rocked with guitar riffs and strong vocals from Young. This up tempo tune set the stage for the nights closing set!
During the set, he sang his 6 #1 hits; “Gettin’ You Home”, “The Man I Want To Be”, “Voices”, “You”, and “Who I Am With You”, all the while thanking the crowd before each was sung, for getting the songs to their statuses! Towards the end of “You”, Young reminisced about the falsetto he encounters at the end of the song. Thinking he was in the clear & that the song would never be released, he figured he’d sing it once & that would be it! Well, the song was released, went to #1 and he found himself having to perform this falsetto at all hours of the day! His smooth baritone voice was finding this feat more difficult in the morning than it was at night…often leaving Young, in his words
“feeling like I was entering puberty again”!
Young has a natural ability of performing! He seems to keep the crowd on their feet no matter the song! Whether it’s fast like his song “Who’s Gonna Take Me Home” from his Self Titled debut LP or the 6th #1 song “Who I am With You”, the crowd never sits down or quiets down, for that matter!
Young has also had a few Top 10 hits as well, like “I Can Take it From There”, which Young sings about the man in the relationship
“putting an old record on…Conway Twitty and “Girl I Loved To Lay You Down”
which the singer chastised the crowd for not screaming when the iconic singer is mentioned! He even sang a few bars from the hit song…which resulted in cheers from the crowd! The singer also interacted with his band mates with either fun loving introductions of them, guitar solos, or even holding 1 drum stick as his drummer demonstrates his ability to play the drums 1 handed while drinking a bottle of water! He totally ended the night with a few natural fireworks of his own!
All in all…these performers set the bar for the Fair’s opening night!