Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Best. Concert. Ever.


     Imagine every one of the artists on this poster appearing in a single concert. Add a surprise appearance by those boys from Tuskeegee, The Commodores (Brick House, anyone?). All of this happened last night for a simple reason: the people of Alabama care about each other . . . and the members of the band Alabama are able to summon their friends to help.
     In the wake of four billion dollars in damage from the tornadoes of April 27th, Alabamians are faced with rebuilding in practically every  corner of the state. It is estimated the Bama Rising concert raised over one million dollars for that purpose, and I am proud to say I was there. You just don't see this many stars in one place in a single lifetime, unless you were around for Woodstock. (I wasn't, by a long shot.)
     To begin at the beginning, these guys are heroes.

     Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook comprise one of the most influential bands in country music history. Fort Payne's biggest success story started out as "Wildcountry" in 1972. You know them as Alabama. They've sold well over 73 million records and have a secure place in the Country Music Hall of Fame. Crossing over onto the pop charts before it was cool, they had thirty number one hits. And as we all sang along at the conclusion of the event at the Birmingham Jefferson Convention Center, their home's in Alabama, no matter where they lay their heads. Imagine thirteen thousand voices joining them, as well as all the stars you saw listed on the poster.

     It was pretty sweet.

     The legendary Blind Boys of Alabama opened the show with "Amazing Grace" sung to the tune of "House of the Rising Sun". If you've not experienced this, check it out here. As Jimmy Carter, leader of the Blind Boys said, "When the storm hit Alabama, it knocked us to our knees, but it didn’t knock us out. Alabama will rise again."

     That pretty much set the tone for the evening. There are some things you just don't see or hear every day, like the full version of "Dixie" played on the flute. Taylor Hicks incorporated that into his terrific song "Nineteen" and you can bet it went over well with the crowd.

The Blind Boys of Alabama

 Alabama debuted a new single to benefit the cause: "Raising Alabama".

Bo Bice did a fantastic "Sweet Home Alabama".

Ashton Shepherd

Darius Rucker, fka Hootie

David Nail was amazing.

Dierks Bentley, just as good as when I met him in '09.

Montgomery Gentry . . . "This Is My Town".

Jake Owen

One of three Idol alums, Kellie Pickler

Little Big Town rocked the house with "Boondocks".

Luke Bryan shook it for everyone. Sorry my photo does not do him justice.

Superstar Martina McBride

Sheryl Crow sang "If It Makes You Happy"

Taylor Hicks. I had forgotten just how wonderful an entertainer he is.

Whoopi Goldberg dropped by in a recorded message . . .

. . . as did Birmingham native Condoleeza Rice.

Rodney Atkins gave advice on "when you're going through hell".

Sara Evans

There is simply no one in the world like Brad Paisley.


This is country music.

Brad Paisley and Alabama performing "Old Alabama"

The grand finale: "My Home's in Alabama" performed by the entire cast and an enthusiastic audience

     As Randy Owen promised, this is only the first fundraising effort planned by the country music community. An auction is scheduled, and will include two tickets for a University of Alabama home football game in the box of Terry Saban (wife of coach Nick Saban); concert tickets for Martina McBride and Alan Jackson plus meet-and-greets with each, a guitar autographed by Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland, a guitar autographed by all the Bama Rising artists including the Alabama band, Brad Paisley, Sheryl Crow, Sara Evans, the Blind Boys of Alabama and Dierks Bentley, and a football autographed by former Alabama stars Mark Ingram, Julio Jones and Marcell Dareus. You can bet there will be more incredible stuff. Visit Charitybuzz for more information.

     Like the song says, "I believe there are angels among us, sent down to us from somewhere up above
                                   They come to you and me in our darkest hours
                                   To show us how to live, to teach us how to give
                                   To guide us with the light of love."
     I saw it in action last night.

Love from Delta.



  1. It looks like you had a wonderful time at this event. Always helps to figure out some kinda way to keep smilin'. Thanks for sharing!!!

    David Boyd

  2. What a great event and worthy cause! So nice to see so many fabulous talented people making a difference for their neighbors!