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Rhett proves forgettable

Honda Center, Anaheim, Cal., October 25, 2018

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

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Thomas Rhett may have graduated to the arena level, but it's still a little difficult to understand exactly why. He sings a lot of dance music - but not much country - yet isn't a knockout singer or dancer. He writes a lot of frothy pop songs that appeal to those that may be turned off by traditional country music, and mainstream radio loves him to death. The audience responded enthusiastically to his headlining show, mainly due to song recognition, more than anything else.

Midway through his show, Rhett played an acoustic version of his best song, "Beer with Jesus," which puts deep spiritual thoughts into a downhome country lyric. He followed that one up with "Round Here," a hit for Florida Georgia Line, which reached down for the polar-opposite quality level. A few of Rhett's songs strive to be more than dating anthems. These included "Marry Me," a sincere examination of a wedding day, "Sixteen," mainly about aging, "Life Changes," concerning how we oftentimes learn as we go and "Die a Happy Man," which expresses the joys of finding true love.

More often than not, though, Rhett loaded his set with throwaway songs, like "Craving You" and "Star of the Show." In the end, this concert was about as forgettable as many of Rhett's songs.

Brett Young had more reason than Rhett to be excited about this tour stop, as the last time he'd been to this arena, his high school basketball team was playing for the state championship. The hunky Young had the girls swooning over his overly romantic songs, which included "Like I Loved You" and "Mercy." He also did a credible job with the Motown cover of "Ain't Too Proud to Beg."

Midland aimed to please, with smart covers of Alabama ("Dixieland Delight") and Jerry Reed ("East Bound and Down"), as well as a few of the band's memorable hits, including "Make a Little" and "Drinkin' Problem." The trio may have been dressed in casual attire, instead of their notable old school cowboy getups, but the act's eight-song set to open the night was the first and last truly traditional music heard all night.