The Valory Music Company/Big Machine Label Group recording artist Justin Moore recently wrapped up his successful “Off the Beaten Path” tour after stopping in 57 cities. Many nights he performed for capacity arena crowds. This was his second headlining tour. I have followed his career since he started in 2007 and have seen him perform numerous times. Each time his stage presence and confidence have improved. I was able to attend two concerts of this tour; one in Minnesota and the other in Iowa. Each time I purchased the VIP Experience through CID Entertainment. This included a premium reserved ticket (lower bowl or pit), pre-show acoustic performance, pre-show VIP party in the “backwoods” lounge, photo opportunity, limited edition poster, belt buckle, VIP laminate and concert concierge.
This was truly a VIP experience. The “backwoods” lounge was set up with several high top tables with tableclothes and candles. There was a nice selection of finger food and a cash bar. The room was decorated with several professional pictures of Justin on easels. There was a small stage and about 30 fans. Shortly after I arrived, Justin came in. He answered questions and interacted with group. He played four songs and it seemed he had as good of a time as we did. He then posed for pictures and spoke with each fan. In Iowa, I met his producer, and excellent song writer in his own right, Jeremy Stover. He was pleasant and interactive. Following this, the concierge escorted us to our seats around long lines of fans.
Shortly after being seated, Josh Thompson took the stage. His song writing and stage presence was clearly above average. His high energy set seemed to get most people into the arena.
After a quick stage change, Randy Houser took the stage. His voice quickly filled the arena. His set was also high energy, but the highlight were the ballards. His vocal control is amazing. He played hit after hit that had most everyone on their feet the entire time. His band was tight and driving. He is a headliner in his own right.
During the stage change following Houser’s set, Jordan Rager performed with an acoustic guitar to recorded tracks. He sang a mix of cover songs and originals and has a bright future. Kudos to Mr. Moore for giving him exposure.
Shortly after Rager finished, the arena lights dimmed and a short pre-recorded intro and light show commenced. Suddenly Justin appeared at the back center of the stage with spotlights from below and behind. There was almost sensory overload as the massive light rigs lit up and the sound system hummed “Off the Beaten Path”. The crowd erupted and it was hard to hear for half of the opening song. The stage was huge and the backdrop unique. I appreciated the fact there was not a video screen to distract from the artist and the band. The sound was clear and the band polished. Playing 200+ days per year has given them the opportunity to hone their craft. During the two hour set, Justin took time to answer a few common questions and seemed to genuinely enjoy himself. He played all of his hits plus several other songs from his previous and current albums. It seemed most everyone knew the words to every song.
He told the crowd in Iowa he would give every ounce of energy he had if we would give it back. He pointed out the few fans who were sitting and encouraged them to stand up. There were a few who remained sitting and he said “I am not above getting out there”. The next thing I knew, he was half way in the arena in front of them. They obliged and stood up. He then started the crowd favorite “Hank It” from the back of the arena. As he made his way back to the stage, the crowd exploded as guitarist Roger Coleman started “I Could Kick Your Ass”.
It was hard to believe two hours had passed and virtually no one sat down. The highlight of the night was his heartfelt response to the chanting and clapping during his first number one song, “Small Town USA”. It was clear the crowd appreciated the moment as much as their hero.
No one left the arena until they were sure the show was over. While it was clear Justin was exhausted, the crowd was left wanting “Moore”. Each show I attended was very well thought out and methodical. The attention to detail by Moore’s team really paid off.
Justin’s current self-penned single, “Lettin’ the Night Roll” sits at #4 on this week’s country chart. He also has a song at #27 with Brantley Gilbert and Thomas Rhett, called “Small Town Throwdown.” He is this year’s Academy of Country Music New Artist of the Year and has had five top five singles. His success has afforded the opportunity to cut back on touring this year due he and wife Kate expecting their third child. You can catch him this summer playing select fairs, festivals and on Miranda Lambert’s “Platinum” tour. You won’t be disappointed.
Check out his website (JustinMoore.com) or mobile app for dates.