Brantley Gilbert with Tyler Farr and special guest Luke Combs at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach
July 27, 2017
Brantley Gilbert is a multi-platinum selling singer, songwriter and record producer from Jefferson, GA. He was originally signed to Average Joes Entertainment, where he released the critically acclaimed Modern Day Prodigal Son (2009) and Halfway to Heaven (2010) albums. Gilbert currently records for Valory Music Group, a division of Big Machine Records. He has released three studio albums for the label—a deluxe edition of Halfway to Heaven (2011), Just as I Am (2014) and The Devil Don't Sleep (2017). Each album received critical and popular acclaim. Gilbert has achieved success as an artist with eleven country chart entries--four of which reached number one. He has also written for Jason Aldean and Colt Ford.
Garden City, MO's Tyler Farr is a singer-songwriter who is a classically trained opera singer. The son of a farmer, he participated as a tenor in Missouri's All-State Choir in his senior year of high school. Urban legend has it that he stumbled upon and became enamored with country music when his mother married George Jones' touring guitarist. An accomplished songwriter, Farr co-wrote "Hey Y'all" for Cole Swindell and "She's Just Like That" for Joe Nichols. While he was paying his dues and had to pay the rent, Farr took on a number of jobs including parking cars, short order cooking, landscaping, singing demos, recreational therapist, construction work and working in a halfway house for kids. His debut album Redneck Crazy (Sony/Legacy) came out in 2013 and contained his first Top 10 hit in "Redneck Crazy" and three other singles. His unusual voice caught the attention of fans and critics alike. His prolific touring schedule has included opening for Brad Paisley, Florida Georgia Line, Luke Bryan, Lee Brice and Jason Aldean as well as performing at festivals and dive bars and everything in between. He's come a long way. His 2015 Sony/Legacy release Suffer In Peace featured the number one country hit in "A Guy Walks Into a Bar."
Luke Combs is from Asheville, NC. As a high schooler, he performed with a number of vocal groups. As a member of one of these groups, his voice was considered to be so sweet that he was a featured singer and was tapped to perform solo at Carnegie Hall. After attending Appalachian State University, he moved to Nashville and pursued a career in music. In 2014 Combs self-released his first two EPs, The Way She Rides and Can I Get an Outlaw In 2015, Combs released his third EP, This One's for You on River House Artists/Columbia Nashville Records. In 2017, Combs released his major label debut album also titled This One's For You (River House Artists/Columbia Nashville). The album reached number one on the Billboard Country Albums chart and number five on the Billboard Top 200 Albums chart. Combs is best known for his hit single "Hurricane," which reached number one on the Country Radio Airplay charts.
On a cool late July Thursday evening featuring a constant threat of rain, Brantley, Farr and Combs tour arrived at the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater. The outdoor arena was buzzing with energy and the fans inside were adorned in jeans or short shorts (for the ladies), cowboy hats and boots and patriotic red, white and blue USA themed shirts. Many fans switched out the shirts that they had been wearing when they arrived for concert tees featuring the logos and likenesses of the evening's stars.
Luke Combs and his sturdy band began the night's festivities with brawny versions of "Outlaw" and "When It Rains It Pours" (which might have been a tongue-in-cheek nod to the weather report). Judging from his performance it was easy to see why Combs was named one of the country artists to watch in 2017. Based on the hoots, hollers, applause and shouts of approval, the fans in attendance at the beach certainly agreed. His short set included "She Got The best Of Me, "Honky Tonk Highway," "Don’t Tempt Me With a Good Time" with its monster hook, a medley that centered on the Eagles' "Take It Easy," "I Got A Way With You," "Moonshine" and the set-ending "Hurricane"--his biggest hit.
After a short intermission, Tyler Farr appeared on stage. Farr's voice is a remarkable instrument. He can croon about heartbreak. He can get a rise from the crowd with his words. He can also be quite funny, cracking jokes and making numerous quips during his performance.
Farr is a renaissance man of Country music and he kept the enthusiasm of the crowd up with his polished versions of "Cooter Brown," "(A Shot of) Whiskey In My Water," "Better in Boots" and "C.O.U.N.T.R.Y." Other highlights included "Suffer In Peace," a spine-tingling, note-perfect rendition of Alice In Chains' "Man In A Box" and the set-ending tour de force, "A Guy Walks Into a Bar." After having a vocal polyp removed after a severe bout of bronchitis at the end of 2015 which was followed by total vocal rest, it's nice to hear Farr sounding strong.
Though the tour is billed as a country extravaganza, Gilbert has managed to hide a rock show inside his tour. His high-energy set featured pyrotechnics as well as a spectacular light show and in short order had the audience professing its love for the singer with the brass knuckles microphone. Though Gilbert has made his bones with country-influenced music, a Brantley Gilbert concert is at heart a rock show that could hold its own with that of many established rock, metal or alternative bands.
At 9:15pm, Gilbert's performance began. Following a video montage projected on the huge screen behind him and his band, Gilbert opened with the hard rocking "It’s About to Get Dirty" and "My Kinda Party." This allowed Gilbert to immediately prime his audience for an evening of powerful music that gave more than just a nod to those rock, metal and alternative influences. Gilbert also provided his fans with the opportunity to participate in the fun. He stuck his microphone out for audience to sing along during virtually every song...and the crowd was thrilled to join in.
Gilbert plowed through the hits as real-time photos and video images of the evening's performance projected behind him. Seeing a huge version of the action on the stage playing out directly behind the singer was sublime. Highlights of his show included: "Rockin' Chairs," "Dirt Road Anthem" (which featured a bit of a rap that would have made Eminem proud), the new song "The Ones That Like Me," "My Baby's Guns N' Roses," "You Don't Know Her Like I Do," the rockin' "Small Town Throwdown," an emotional version of "One Hell Of An Amen" and the main set ending "Bottoms Up."
The show ended, as all other shows on the tour have ended, with an encore of "Read Me My Rights" which would have been at home at Lollapalooza or on many a 1990s package tour featuring Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park and/or Korn.
Gilbert also loves his country. Among the souvenirs available at his concerts is a United States flag and memorabilia package that provides those who purchase it a "meet-and-greet" opportunity after the performance. It is obvious that Gilbert hold a special place in his heart for his loyal and patriotic fans. It is not surprising that one fan presented him with an American flag and that die-hard fans led chants of "U.S.A., U.S.A., U.S.A" between songs.
Although the concert was on a Thursday evening, Gilbert, Farr and Combs treated it as if it was already the weekend. They three singers and their bands got down to it and weekend's party started twenty-four hours early.
Photo Credit: Christine Connallon