REVIEW: Tim McGraw opens the season at The Amp

Country music superstar Tim McGraw brought his 2022 tour to St. Joseph’s Amphiteater at Lakeview on Thursday night. This was the first concert of a very busy concert season for the venue.

To call McGraw a legend would be understating things. In the nearly thirty years since his debut record, McGraw has released a whopping sixty-five singles to country radio with twenty-five number ones to his name. He has won three Grammys, fourteen Academy of Country Music Awards and eleven Country Music Association Awards. Picking a setlist for the tour must either be really easy, or really difficult. What songs do you put in? Which ones do you leave out?

At 9:15pm, the house lights went down and Led Zeppelin’s “Rock and Roll” blared over the P.A. system as the on-stage light show moved in time to the music. If the fans weren’t ramped up before this, the pummeling Jimmy Page guitar riff certainly did the trick. McGraw hit the stage looking like an athlete. At 55 years old, McGraw is in peak physical and musical form.

He opened with a deeper cut, “How Bad Do You Want It” from his 2004 album Live Like You Were Dying. He followed with several of his biggest hits. “Something Like That” from 1999’s A Place in the Sun is an absolute anthem and the audience nearly exploded when the first notes rang out. Dipping all the way back to 1994’s “Down on the Farm” McGraw made it clear that the crowd was in for a fun time. “Just to See You Smile,” “Don’t Take The Girl” and “7500 OBO” showcased the softer side of McGraw.

McGraw pulled out a deep track with “Memory Lane” from his eponymous 1993 debut, then it was a greatest hits package until the end. He closed out his main set with two of his biggest hits and fan favorites, “I Like It, I Love It” and “Live Like You Were Dying.” McGraw brought all of his opening acts out onto the stage to sing with him during “I Like It, I Love It.” It was a nice gesture by one of country music’s biggest names. There were moments during “Live Like You Were Dying” where the voices of the audience threatened to drown out the band. He returned to the stage for a three song encore. Closing out the night with the sing along ballad “Humble and Kind.”

Tim McGraw has been at it for three decades and shows no signs of letting up. He put on a brilliant twenty-one song performance that left the Syracuse audience asking for more.

Opener Russell Dickerson hit the stage at 8 pm and gave a tight ten-song, forty-five-minute performance. The Union City, TN native already has four number-one singles on Billboard’s Country Radio Chart. His set was high energy from start to finish.

Alexandra Kay and Brandon Davis each performed a short set to open the night. They shared a backing band, swapping out singing duties. Both have strong voices and great stage presence. At one point Davis grabbed a cowboy hat off of the drum riser and explained that it was his father’s hat. The same hat that his father wore while opening for Garth Brooks many years ago.

It was a great night of music to kick off the 2022 concert season at The Amp. Next up is The Doobie Brothers on June 19. Tickets are available at Ticketmaster and the St. Joseph’s Health Amphitheater box office.

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