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HomeEF CountryBrad Paisley, Royal Arena, Copenhagen live review

Brad Paisley, Royal Arena, Copenhagen live review

With over 30 years in the business under his belt (or should that be his white cowboy hat?), Brad Paisley has long established himself as one of the major stars of country music. He’s earned his reputation as a killer guitar player and for his ability to write smart, funny but also moving songs, and continues to wow audiences all over the world. Currently he’s out on his latest tour – his first outside the US since 2019 – and last night made a stop at the Royal Arena in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Arriving on stage shortly after 9PM and carrying his black glitter guitar, Paisley kicked off his set with ‘American Saturday Night’. Right from the start the crowd were clapping and singing along and it worked really well to lift the energy in the room. He also changed the lyrics to ‘Ukrainian flag up behind the bar’ and changed his backdrop to the yellow and blue flag, alongside the Danish and American flags. It was a great start to the evening and set the template for the next 90 minutes of music.

With multiple guitar changes (including handing a signed one to a kid in the front row and telling him, “learn how to play that and we’ll see you in five years”) and a slick setlist, Paisley delivered a masterclass in how to keep an audience’s attention. Throughout the show he could be seen running up and down the stage extension out into the crowd, before returning to jam with his band on the likes of ‘Online’ and ‘Water’, which also served as the intro for his crew with a parody of the opening titles of ‘The Love Boat’ (and knowing Paisley, pun almost certainly intended). He could also be spotted shaking hands with audience members and even went so far as to borrow one’s phone during the rollicking ‘I’m Still A Guy’ for a selfie with him and Morgan Evans, who came out to join him on the song, before being utterly perplexed by the Danish language when he tried to post it!

However, where Paisley really shone was showing his softer side. ‘Perfect Storm’ was an early highlight, showing off the warmth and richness in his voice, whilst ‘Then’ and ‘She’s Everything’ were celebrations of love with shots of couples in the audience and Paisley deploying the ‘kiss cam’ on the latter (as well as one amazing guitar riff!). Meanwhile, ‘This Is Country Music’ featured a backdrop of Grand Ole Opry legends with Paisley throwing in snippets of everything from ‘Love Can Build A Bridge’ to ‘A Country Boy Can Survive’, and Last Time For Everything took on a new sense of poignancy as Paisley told the crowd “we didn’t know if we’d get to see you again” before seamlessly incorporating a chorus of Prince’s classic ‘Purple Rain’. However, the standout moment was on ‘Whiskey Lullaby’, which Paisley delivered as a solo acoustic version. It really heightened the simplicity of the song as well as its quiet power, and by the end of it I was a complete sobbing mess.

That said, there was plenty of space for fun alongside the more subdued moments, as Paisley rocked his way through the likes of ‘Beat This Summer’, ‘River Bank’ and ‘Crushin’ It’. He also highlighted his trademark humour on ‘Celebrity’ with its video referencing the pandemic and ‘Tiger King’, as well as the firmly tongue-in-cheek ‘I’m Gonna Miss Her’ and with frequent jokes about bringing ‘Florida weather’ with the heatwave and struggling to understand Danish road signs and money. I was also seriously impressed with his musical skills on ‘The Nervous Breakdown’, which saw his fingers absolutely flying up and down the neck of his guitar as well as giving his incredibly talented band a chance of show off their talents (props to the fiddle player in particular).

Paisley closed his main set with the one-two punch of the playful ‘Ticks’ and ‘Mud On The Tires’ before going into ‘The Mona Lisa’. Whilst sadly there was no Mona Conga to be spotted in the audience, there were plenty of people getting up on their feet to clap, dance and sing along, and it felt like a real high point of the show. The crowd kept singing the chorus after Paisley left the stage to demand an encore, and he happily obliged, reprising the song briefly before bringing Morgan Evans out once again for ‘Alcohol’. For me this song really sums up everything about Paisley as an artist – witty and clever lyrics,, amazing musical talent (as witnessed by him using a beer bottle as a guitar slide!) and a first-class entertainer through and through.

Overall Paisley delivered a polished show that ran like a well-oiled machine and showed that he’s got the charisma, showmanship, vocal chops and incredible musical skills to keep delivering. If I had one small criticism, it would be that the show slightly lacked variety for me – this is my third time seeing him now and whilst he remains an outstanding performer, I’d have perhaps liked to see a few fan favourite songs or deeper cuts in the setlist just to change things up a bit. But he’s still at the top of his game and you know that when you see him, you’re guaranteed to have a good time. It may not be ground-breaking, but as the man himself said at the end of the night, ‘we had a blast, hope you did too’. Judging by the chatter from the crowd as they left, I think that was definitely the case!

Set list: 1. American Saturday Night 2. Beat This Summer 3. Online 4. Perfect Storm 5. The Love Boat/Water 6. Waitin’ On A Woman 7. Then 8. Celebrity 9. I’m Still A Guy (with Morgan Evans) 10. This Is Country Music 11. Crushin’ It 12. The Nervous Breakdown (instrumental) 13. Last Time For Everything/Purple Rain (Prince cover) 14. Hot For Teacher (Van Halen cover) 15. Mountain Music (Alabama cover)/Old Alabama 16. Whiskey Lullaby 17. I’m Gonna Miss Her (The Fishing Song) 18. Take Me Home Country Roads (John Denver cover) 19. Ticks 20. Mud On The Tires 21. The Mona Lisa Encore: 22. The Mona Lisa (reprise) 23. Alcohol (with Morgan Evans) Performance date: 20th July 2022

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Laura Cooney
Laura Cooneyhttp://cherrysodablog.blogspot.com
Laura is a music and lifestyle blogger with a particular interest in country music, and occasional writer for Entertainment Focus.

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