Chase Rice AM/PM Tour review

Written By Noah Bieniek, For The Globe

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The stage went pitch black when the Lord’s Prayer, which is the first few lines to Chase Rice’s first song “Lions” off of his 4thstudio album, and first album under Broken Bow Records plays. The sound of heavy electric guitar flooded Stage AE. The audience could see the drummer, wearing a Pirates hat and the guitarists in their punk rock looks with ripped jeans and unique hairstyles while listening to Rice sing the first verse while he was not visible. Then at the beginning of the chorus, Rice appeared donning a sweatshirt but quickly took that off to rock his well-known look of a plain T-Shirt, jeans, his black hat with his merchandise branding, “HDEU,” on it, and a cup of what is thought to be Jack Daniels. A big cheer followed.

 

Performers: Chase Rice, Jon Nite, Chris DeStefano

Genre: Country

Location: Stage AE

Date: October 10th, 2019

 

As a guy that constantly drools at concert lineups, a lineup of Rice, Jon Nite, and Chris DeStefano doesn’t seem that intriguing to the normal eye. But, knowing that Nite and DeStefano have contributed to some great songs that many people know from country radio today, I knew they may provide some good entertainment. Nite, and DeStefano came out onto the stage to perform together. The songwriters both sat on wooden stools with a guitar on their lap and a microphone planted in front of them. It was almost as if they were competing for the crowd’s applause because they took turns playing the hit songs that they wrote. In my opinion DeStefano had the better voice when singing, but Nite has the better songs and a more marketable appearance if he chooses to ever return to the singer role, after a non-popular 2008 album.

Singing hit after hit and explaining the stories behind writing them and how they got cut with the artist that sang them entertained the Chase Rice crowd from 8:00 to 9:00 p.m. My rating for the opening act is a B+ based on surprise factor of performing their hits they’ve written for other people which was very entertaining for me as I love what the meaning of different songs are and the stories behind how the song became so popular and how it was made.

Now to the main act, Chase Rice, the mainstream country rock singer who’s career has been pretty stagnant over the last five years. Most of his fanbase was built up during the “Bro Country” era, and for those who don’t know what that is, here is the definition straight out of the urban dictionary:a style of country music influenced by hip-hop, rock, and R & B, featuring male vocalists singing lyrics celebrating themes such as drinking, women, and pickup trucks. This time period is not particularly liked by the country music fanbase but it’s pretty much what I grew up on. I listened to Chase Rice’s career starting singles, “Ready, Set, Roll”, “Gonna Wanna Tonight”, pop sex jam cover “Ride”, and the all-time genre bending classic “Cruise” written by Rice and sang by Florida Georgia Line. Neither of the first songs hit #1 on Country charts but both landed in the top 5 of U.S. Country Airplay. Rice’s career has been resurrected by his latest single “Eyes on You” which just became his first career #1 on U.S. Country Airplay.

Rice’s setlist included all of his hits and some of his personal favorites. During “Do it Like This,” Chase Rice and his guitarists started a reoccurring action they performed a couple of times in the concert where he and his guitarists would come to the end of the middle of the pit, and he would sing the bridge. They’d jam out on the guitar and then he’d enter back into the chorus, it was very cool to see throughout the concert. It gave the guitarists some light and allowed them to provide some energy to the crowd.

Before Rice performed “Jack Daniels Showed Up,” he saw someone in the pit holding up their four year-old kid which allowed him to show off some of his humor, and hint towards the next song he was going to play, “Hey little man might want to close your ears because I think you may need to wait til 8thgrade until you have your first taste of Jack Daniels.” The crowd loved knowing what song was about to come next.

The gauntlet of hits in the middle of the concert started with his current chart climber, “Lonely if You Are,” where, before he sang it, he thanked the crowd for their support in his last #1 “Eyes on You,” and said that he was expecting “Lonely if You Are” to become another #1 and what he believes to be his biggest hit of his career.

Near the middle of Rice’s act he split up the gauntlet of his hits with an acoustic session singing his two favorite personal songs. He explained that the two songs, “Look at my Truck,” and “Carolina Can,” remind him of his hometown and his way of life, while wearing his “HDEU” hat. HDEU stands for Head Down Eyes Up which is the official name of Chase Rice’s merchandise. He explains it’s how he reminds himself to just keep moving no matter what life throws at you. In Rice’s junior year at the University of North Carolina, he injured his left ankle, ending his junior season, and before the beginning of his senior season his mom told him that his dad died. Knowing the story beforehand I knew I wanted to get an “HDEU” hat, which I purchased before the performance.

After “Carolina Can,” Rice started his song “Ride” which is, as he calls it, a “sex song.”  After the first chorus the music stopped, Rice searched the pit. Girls started to go crazy and Rice picked himself out a brunette. He called her up to the stage and sat her on a stool. His humor then took over again as he looked into the crowd, he checked on the four-year-old. Rice saw he was asleep, and said, “Good he doesn’t need to hear this sex stuff.” As Rice was beginning to play, he stopped and saw that the kid woke up. He mumbled, “Oh no he’s up, mom cover his ears.” Rice then began to sing “Ride” sitting on a chair with his guitar and the girl, in her mid-20s, propped up on a stool next to him.

After his very heavy rock performance that added his own twist to his hit song “Cruise” he wrote with Florida Georgia Line, Rice gave his band members a shout out and allowed each guitarist to play the chorus of a song everyone in the crowd would know. The first guitarist had a haircut that reminded me of Rooster from 22 Jump Street as he chose to play the two Blink 182 songs “All the Small Things,” and “Please Tell me Why.” The next guitarist rocked long frizzy black hair and was wearing a shirt that said “We Are Lions” he chose to play “Body Like a Backroad” where Chase claimed to have not known the words and chose not to sing along. The last guitarist he introduced jumped right into shredding “Sweet Caroline,” knowing the crowd would chant, “Let’s Go Pitt” instead of “Ba Ba Ba.” Lastly, Rice introduced his drummer who was sporting a Pittsburgh Pirates hat. Rice claimed that his drummer Jeremy “Midnight” Roberson grew up in Pittsburgh which received a huge roar, where in fact Roberson is known to have grown up in Columbia, South Carolina. He performed a very impressive drum solo while flipping and twirling his drumsticks to provide an extra applause.

Chase Rice finished off the concert with his first ever hit “Ready, Set Roll.” After the song was over the band kept the beat as Rice chucked the cup he was drinking out into the stands and started to venture throughout the pit shaking hands, taking pictures, and signing autographs on various items. Rice made sure he found the four-year-old, the girl he brought onto the stage, and the two guys that caught his cup in the audience. When Rice came to my area of the pit, my new friend I made that night, Parker, was standing next to me. We looked at each other and mutually agreed that he’d hold up my new HDEU hat, and his girlfriend Mariah would hold up a Coors can for autographs, and I’d take a picture of them holding the items up while Chase Rice came to them.

The concert ends, and Parker, Mariah and I parted ways. The couple left with an autographed Coors can, and 40 pictures that I took on Parker’s phone in excitement. I left with a red autographed “HDEU” hat. My review of Chase Rice’s performance is a C+ because as I mentioned before he’s not the greatest singer but he put on a great performance and had amazing interactions with his fans in Stage AE. It was a great night and provided good memories to many of the fans including myself.

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