Whitewater Amphitheater set the bar high when they kicked of their 2014 live music season on Saturday, March 29th with Merle Haggard plus an opening set from Wade Bowen and Randy Rogers’ “Hold My Beer and Watch This” acoustic tour. Wade and Randy took turns performing acoustic versions of their songs with Brady Black joining in on fiddle and Todd Laningham on guitar. If you’re not familiar with this annual tour, they drink beer and swap songs and stories.
It was an early show with Wade and Randy taking the stage at 7:30, but Whitewater was already starting to fill up despite that. Rock, Paper Scissors is apparently a tradition to see which man will start the show, and Wade won out and kicked things off with “If We Ever Make It Home”. From there they played one song after another with an occasional stop for a drink of beer and some humorous conversation about life on the road, etc.
By the time Wade and Randy’s set ended the place was packed, and people were of course antsy to see Merle Haggard on stage. After a brief wait while the stage was prepared, The Strangers (Merle’s band) took the stage to sing a few songs while waiting for Merle to appear. Finally it was time, and at almost 77 years of age (he was born April, 6, 1937), Merle Haggard doesn’t appear to have lost a step. His well-staffed 8 piece band performed every hit Merle Haggard song I could remember, and it truly was an honor to be able to witness such a country music legend performing live.
I just happen to have some video from the show!
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Whitewater Amphitheater has now officially launched concert season for 2014, here are the shows I know about, clickable shows are links to buy tickets:
• 5/3 – Jmblya
• 5/24 – Josh Abbott Band w/Roger Creager + William Clark Green
• 5/25 – The Spazmatics
• 6/14 – Stoney LaRue & Randy Rogers Band
• 6/23 – Goo Goo Dolls, Daughtry, Plain White T’s
• 7/4 – Eli Young Band w/Chase Rice
• 7/5 – Turnpike Troubadours w/Jerry Jeff Walker & Jonny Burke
• 7/26 – Pat Green & Cory Morrow
• 8/9 – Dwight Yoakam w/Jason Boland and Jason Eady