McGraw's 'Southern Voice' woos even the least likely of listeners

Spinnaker

At 43 years old, Tim McGraw delivered a soulful performance Thursday night at his Southern Voice Tour for a packed venue at the Veteran’s Memorial Arena in downtown Jacksonville.

Trio band Lady Antebellum opened with an impressive performance, but it was McGraw who really got the crowd’s attention by posing a brief power outage in the theatre. When the lights came back to full force, the teleprompter screen showed McGraw riding up the stage on a motorcycle. The trickery was explained when he started singing his first song “I may be a real bad-boy, but baby, I’m a real good man.”

An 11-piece ensemble, The DanceHall Doctors, carried McGraw’s high velocity tunes throughout the night with a wide assortment of instruments.

“We don’t bullshit, we just play music,” McGraw shouted, upon introducing his back-up band.

McGraw played songs from his new album “Southern Voice” and also some older tunes like “BBQ Stain On My White T-Shirt” and “I Like It, I Love it,” to satiate the musical cravings of the long-term fans. He also played a couple of covers including Elton John’s “Tiny Dancer” and Lynyrd Skynyrd’s “Sweet Home Alabama.”

The concert flowed earnestly and naturally as McGraw attempted to use every inch of the cross-shaped stage to pet the reaching hands from the crowded floor that engulfed him.

McGraw took a brief moment to sing acoustically, which he claimed he doesn’t get to do often, for the troops overseas. He also let out a few secrets regarding his past and his road to fame when he admitted pawning his high school ring to buy his first guitar in order to “get laid.”

“I spent some time playing my guitar around Jacksonville, I might add,” McGraw said — and the crowd went wild.

The veteran country singer was sure to thank the “folks” who spent their hard-earned money to buy a ticket to come out and have a good time, which I think everyone appreciated. Including country music bashers, like myself.