Maybe it’s the flannel. Or the overalls. Maybe it’s the way boys look in red, white and blue bandanas. Or the way girls look with pigtails. Whatever it is, something about barn dance brings students a level of excitement and pure joy rivaled only by the excitement of free food or cancelled class. Barn dances are notorious for being some of the most fun, carefree nights of the year. Everyone is laughing, enjoying the company of Loretta and her Chex Mix and drinking select adult beverages, often in large amounts.
For me, the best part of any barn dance is joining my friends in the barn, being covered in hay (which I’m deathly allergic to) and dancing the night away to some great country music. Even those who don’t typically like country music let go of their personal opinions for the night and belt the lyrics to Toby Keith’s “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue.” Why, then, are these people who love barn dance so much so inclined to make fun of me for going to see a Kenny Chesney concert?
On June 9, I ventured to Toyota Park with five other girls to celebrate a birthday, a reunion of friends and, most importantly, the beautiful Kenny Chesney. Before he took the stage, his openers included Uncle Kracker (who we missed) and Billy Currington. My boy Billy played some of my favorites, such as, “People are Crazy” and “Let Me Down Easy.” All the while, we behaved as normal college girls would in the given situation; we sang our hearts out, held our hands high and occasionally shouted the standard, “BILLY CURRINGTON IS SEXY!” as loudly as possible.
But our shouts were nothing compared to the screams that rang through the stands as Kenny finally took the stage. For those who don’t know, Kenny has somewhat of a cult following. Most of the girls I went with had seen him three or four times! But for me, it was my first Kenny concert — and country concert at that. But it will not be my last.
I’ve been to plenty of concerts, ranging from Something Corporate, to Goo Goo Dolls, to Jason Mraz, but nothing even compared to this. Kenny was better live than on record, easily. And the crowd was electric. Everyone was on their feet, dancing, singing, and having the time of their lives. It was like one big barndance for all ages. (Although most everyone was acting about 25.) I loved every second of it, and for country haters out there, I’m telling you: take one for the team and try a concert, it will definitely change your outlook!
Whether you like country or not, I’d bet money that you’d have enjoyed this show. So if you missed it, be sure to check out some of the other major names coming to the Midwest this summer!
Toby Keith will be hitting up Milwaukee’s Summerfest this year on July 1, singing classics such as, “Courtesy of the Red, White, and Blue,” and new favorites like, “American Ride.” But if you’re not feeling that Patriotic, you can always check out Brad Paisley on August 6th in Chicago! Take your boyfriend for a date and allow him to sing along with, “She’s Everything.” Trust me, you’ll love him. Or, just go with your friends and jam to the hit song, “Water.” The great thing about country music is that there is something for everyone, and every mood — you can sway along and hold the one you love for one song, and jump up and down screaming with your girlfriends for the next!
If you want to go all out, though, there’s only one way to do it. Make it a roadtrip, pack up the tent, and head to Twin Lakes, Wisconsin for Country Thunder 2011. See headliners including Lady Antebellum, Darius Rucker, Zac Brown Band and Rascall Flatts. From July 21 to 24, you’ll hear nothing but hit country music and do nothing but have fun with your friends. Tickets are still going for fair prices at the festivals site. Both weekend passes and day passes are available! Check it out!
I know, I know. Country has twang, and songs about tractors and pick up trucks may not mean anything to you. But I promise, country concerts are like barn dance on steroids, and I’d be hard-pressed to find anyone reading this blog who hasn’t had a great time at a barn dance. There’s no excuse, the tickets are usually priced well, and there’s not even any hay at the concerts so even people with allergies and inhalers like me can handle it. Go outside of your box and head up to a country concert this summer — you won’t regret it!