The Enid News and Eagle, Enid, OK

March 8, 2014

REVIEW: Rucker, Nail, Eli Young Band rock event center

By Joe Malan, Staff Writer
Enid News & Eagle

ENID, Okla. — On Friday evening, Darius Rucker rocked Enid Event Center like a ...

Nah, too easy.

Regardless, the “Wagon Wheel” singer, along with fellow country artists David Nail and Eli Young Band, put on an excellent show.

Also, I now know what a sellout crowd at the Event Center looks like.

Granted, there were some seats open (because a sellout doesn’t always equate to every seat being filled), but it was a packed house.

I mean packed.

But on to the show.

Nail got things kicked off at just about exactly 7 p.m. with a very good rendition of “Counting Cars.”

Nail, born and raised in Kennett, Mo., doesn’t have what I would call a “classic” country sound. Like, to me, Justin Moore sounded a lot different than Rodney Atkins, and Nail’s sound is more like Atkins’, if you get my drift.

By the way, before hitting the show, I looked up each of the performing artists’ top 5 songs on Spotify, which helped me become better acquainted with each of the artists.

The highlights of Nail’s seven-song set were “Let it Rain” and “Whatever She’s Got,” the latter a popular song off his newest album, “I’m a Fire.”

His set ended at 7:30, which gave the event center crew about 15 minutes to tear down and get things rearranged for the next act, Eli Young Band.

What surprised me about Eli Young Band’s hour-long performance was how bright and inclusive it seemed. Not that I expected less, but when I did my pre-show listening on Spotify, I didn’t expect the sound I got.

Of Rucker, Nail and Eli Young Band, the Band was the artist (or artists) I was least familiar with. But I was impressed with the quality of their sound. And, they got the crowd involved with a lot of their antics. (Both Nail and the lead singer of the Eli Young Band grabbed a smartphone from a fan and recorded a little video during their respective performances.)

Songs the Eli Young Band included in their set were “Drunk Last Night,” “Even if it Breaks Your Heart” and their newest single, “Dust.”

EYB’s  performance lasted about an hour. The stage crew was given about 20 minutes to prepare for Rucker’s set.

Before Rucker took the stage, the main screen showed a clip of a bunch of popular songs over history being played on various musical devices, such as a record player and radio.

Which, fittingly, led into Rucker’s first song, “Radio,” a 2013 single.

All three bands brought a great energy to Friday night’s show, but Rucker especially did. Clad in his beet red University of South Carolina ball cap, the South Carolinan belted out many of his most popular songs, including the aforementioned “Radio,” “Alright” and his newest single, “Miss You.”

About halfway through his set, Rucker said something a lot of Friday night’s concert-goers will probably never forget.

“Do y’all remember that band called Hootie & the Blowfish?”

It was loud before, but boy, did it get loud then.

Rucker belted out “Time,” one of the band’s singles from the ’90s, and, later, “Only Wanna Be With You.”

And of course, there was “Wagon Wheel” ... which Rucker performed to a loud, packed crowd on its feet during the encore.

• Highlight of the night: Before Rucker’s final song of the night, he invited Nail and the Eli Young Band back onto the stage for a group performance of Hank Williams Jr.’s “Family Tradition.” As Rucker said, if you don’t know this one, “go look it up.”

• Best song: “Only Wanna Be With You” by far got the best crowd reaction.