After 40 years of touring and entertaining crowds across the globe, Alabama makes a visit as part of their Southern Drawl Tour 2016 at Firekeepers Casino.
Crowned as the most successful country band of all times, Alabama performed Friday night to a sold-out crowd inside the Firekeepers Casino Event Center to an energetic crowd of all ages.
Alabama is made up of three cousins, Randy Owens (lead vocals and rhythm guitar), Teddy Gentry (vocals and bass) along with Jeff Cook (vocals, lead guitar, keyboards and fiddle).
Starting out as a high school band (Young Country) in Fort Payne, AL in the late 60’s, they became a professional band (Wild Country) in 1972 by moving to Myrtle Beach, SC to become the house band of the boardwalk honky tonk, The Bowery. Changing their name again in 1977 to Alabama, they continued perfecting their skills for the next three years as they entertained crowds and created a fan following as they would venture out to play selected dates outside the venue. They left The Bowery in July of 1980 to begin their embark on national and world tours.
With an extensive library that consists of over 60 single releases and 47 No. 1 hit singles, there is no doubt that their shows won’t be entertaining with songs known by all.
Getting the evening started with a video of other artists talking about how Alabama has influenced them as fans and artists, the crowd jumped to their feet in anticipation for the show to begin.
When the lights came up on stage, Jeff, Randy and Teddy were standing forefront with additional musicians at the rear of the stage as they started right off with their 1984 hit “If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band).” From the upbeat tempo start, the crowd and band fed off each other to continue the momentum as the show continued to escalate with excitement and energy.
Throughout the show, the crowd stayed on their feet dancing and singing along to all the hits that we had come to all know and love from a 40+ year career that all started in the hills of Alabama. Along with the big hits of the 80s and 90s, they also included a few songs from their current album, Southern Drawl. The album is the band’s first album of new material in 14 years.
Alabama paid tribute to Merle Haggard with Jeff singing “Working Man Blues” and Randy talking how they were all raised on that mentality of hard-working people working every day for what they had. They also added their song “Born Country” mentioning that is what Merle believed.
The comedy section of the show came when Jeff imitated Mel Tillis (with a stutter) as he awarded them for their album, The Closer You Get, becoming <em>Album Of The Year</em> in 1984.
The show ended with an encore of their 1982 popular hit song “Mountain Music” that also showcased the musicians at the rear of the stage.
From the show’s beginning, it was evident that some of the additional members of the band at the back of the stage were there for more than just support as Jeff and Randy showed signs of struggle as they played their parts on guitar. Teddy appeared spot on while playing the bass guitar and even moved with a sort of dance at times. Vocally all three were superb as the three-point harmonies sounded flawless throughout a nearly two-hour performance. Randy even joked with the crowd making comments to ensure the crowd that the show was live and not a recording.
When the band left the stage, and the house lights lit up the room, members of the crowd raced to the front of the stage in hopes of grabbing a souvenir from the stage in the way of a show setlist copy or guitar pick. Although not all the screaming fans were able to grab a memento from the stage or band, everyone in attendance appeared to leave still happy with a performance by the eight-time <em>Entertainer Of The Year</em> winners.
1. If You’re Gonna Play In Texas (You Gotta Have A Fiddle In The Band); 2. Tennessee River; 3. Dixieland Delight/Will The Circle Be Unbroken/Dixieland Delight; 4. Song Of The South; 5. Southern Drawl; 6. Workin’ Man Blues (Merle Haggard cover); 7. Born Country; 8. Feels So Right; 9. Lady Down On Love; 10. Dancin’, Shaggin’ On The Boulevard; 11. Turn It Off; 12. Come Find Me; 13. Love In The First Degree; 14. The Closer You Get; 15. I Wanna Be There; 16. Roll On (Eighteen Wheeler); 17. I’m In A Hurry (And Don’t Know Why); 18. Encore – Mountain Music