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Adkins leaves grit, intensity behind

Palace Theatre, Greensburg, PA, April 8, 2017

Reviewed by Michael Rampa

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Trace Adkins looked intimidating on GAC'S show "Day Jobs" where he relived his days on an off shore oil rig driller. As a country music star walking onstage, he is downright menacing. He looms over seven-feet tall when donning his cowboy hat. But for whatever reason, his show lacked the grit and intensity Adkins is famous for. It started out promising enough as the band launched into "Songs About Me" with fervor. But when Adkins stepped to the mic, his signature baritone sounded weary and lacked its usual authoritative tone.

The set list could be read like a financial statement. Each quarter had its unique features, but the net year-end result here felt like a break-even effort. The opening numbers featured Adkins diligently getting through "Chrome" and (This Ain't No) Thinkin' Thing." The ride to the midpoint began with his best-known ballads "Just Fishin'" and "You're Gonna Miss This." Somehow, his delivery did not match the intense emotion in each song.

Nobody could accuse him of giving the fans what they wanted. Only two songs were played from his latest, well-received album "Something's Going On." Adkins briefly denounced bro country and prefaced his cover of Alan Jackson's "Midnight In Montgomery" by saying "There are very few real country singers out there any more, but this guy is my favorite." He also confessed that Blake Shelton jokingly accused him of "starting that stuff in the first place" with the hokey "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk."

If redemption was to be found, it was in the final push to the two-hour mark, which rocked hard thanks to a triple shot of "Ladies Love Country Boys," "The House Is Rockin'" and "Honky Tonk Badonkadonk," all led by drummer Jerry Richardson's pounding tom tom work that his baffler was unable to contain. The crowd was generally responsive, enjoying the backstories behind the songs, his stage banter and a greatest hits laden set list.