Life is good for the Perry siblings--Kimberly, Reid and Neil. The Band Perry brought their 2014 "We Are Pioneers" headline tour to the BMO Harris Bank Center in Rockford, Ill., on Feb. 20. Their youthful exuberance and positive vibe during their crossover country-rock show was the perfect tonic for a blustery winter evening. Old-school country artist Easton Corbin and Lindsay Ell provided support.
Easton Corbin hit the stage just before 8:15 p.m. for a 45-minute show. Corbin began with "The Way Love Looks" from his first album and was joined by a six-piece band that included a trio of guitarists, steel guitarist, fiddler and drummer. He followed with the lead single from "All Over the Road," getting the crowd to sing along on "Lovin' You Is Fun."
Corbin pushed his way through an 11-song set while endorsing his new single "Clockwork" from his unnamed, forthcoming album due out later this year. He told the crowd that he's spent the previous six months working on new music, then introduced them to "Be My Love Song." Referencing the miserable weather, Corbin proclaimed, "This weather's got me down, let's head down South," to segue into the tranquil "A Lot to Learn."
Strategically placing his newest single, "Clockwork," between #1 hits "A Little More Country Than That" and "Roll With It" kept fans on their feet. However, it was "All Over the Road" that might have generated the greatest participation. Corbin closed with Brooks & Dunn's "Brand New Man" and Alabama's "If You're Gonna Play in Texas."
Following their platinum, eponymous debut album, The Band Perry have reinforced their rising star. 2013's "Pioneer" has generated positive reviews and they've garnered enough fanfare to produce their first major headline tour. They were also nominated for a pair of 2014 Academy of Country Music Awards: "Vocal Group of the Year" and "Music Video of the Year." Blake Shelton recently selected them to provide direct support for his 2014 "Ten Times Crazier" tour to kick off this summer.
A brief 15-minute set change brought The Band Perry to the stage by 9:15 p.m. The crowd roared when the lights dimmed and the trio were displayed on three large, square video monitors that provided the backdrop. A countdown from the 10-second mark signified their entrance atop a tiered riser above the smoke-filled stage. They erupted into "Done" from their latest album and quickly demonstrated this would be an energetic performance. Kimberly, Reid and Neil each covered all aspects of the stage and a lengthy catwalk that extended toward the middle of the arena before they had moved into "Night Gone Wasted." The three video monitors tracked their every move each of the respective Perrys darted about the stage.
Kimberly addressed the concept of "Pioneer," noting that they decided early into the recording process that the song would define the album and tour. "It's about putting one foot in front of the other and never quitting," said Kimberly. That concept has driven The Band Perry to greater heights and seems to be an effective ideology if fanbase and album sales are an appropriate metric. Fans of the new album will be delighted with the show, with three-fourths of "Pioneer" peppered throughout their setlist.
Though most of their set showed their playful stage presence, there was a solemn event midway into the show as their touring fiddle player, Jason Fitz, performed "The Star-Spangled Banner." Reid pulled a large American flag from the end of the catwalk and ran it to the top of the stage riser. He returned to join his siblings at the end of the catwalk as they stood and faced the flag together as the national anthem played out. The patriotic moment climaxed with a thunderous roar from the packed house, leading into "Pioneer." A moving cover of "Amazing Grace" completed the moment.
Shenanigans ensued when Kimberly and Neil tag-teamed the Pitbull / Ke$ha hit-single, "Timber." It was at this point in the show when it became obvious that The Band Perry might have been having as much fun as their fans. Kimberly asked for a show of hands while stating, "Have we got any rednecks out here tonight? Be proud of it." That led into "Chainsaw" and quickly exhibited Kimberly's vocal range.
Neil took the reins for Queen's "Fat Bottomed Girls." The reworked classic is a fan favorite has become an integral part of their show. Brother Reid took over to introduce the talened backing musicians--a four-piece that includes two guitarists, drummer and the aforementioned Fitz on fiddle and keys. One of the better band intros, each member ripped into a solo that showcased their inspirations which ranged from AC/DC to the Rolling Stones to the late, great Randy Rhoads.
Spontaneity struck during "Don't Let Me Be Lonely" when Kimberly called out a young fan at the end of the catwalk. She announced, "I have a new boyfriend, we've been flirting all night." She brought 8 year-old Ethan onto the stage and asked if he wanted to sing with her. They performed a verse together and Kimberly gave him a big hug before handing him back to security.
They closed out the night with a two song encore that included a pair of #1 singles. "If I Die Young" and "Better Dig Two" gave the fans a perfect end to a great night. There's no doubt that The Band Perry will continue to hone their craft and pioneer their effort to new heights.
Remaining 2014 We Are Pioneers tour dates for The Band Perry:
2/21 - Cape Girardeau, Mo. - Show Me Center
2/22 - Corbin, Kent. - The Corbin Arena
2/23 - Saginaw, Mich. - Dow Events Center
2/27 - Green Bay, Wis. - Resch Center
2/28 - Mankato, Minn. - Verizon Wireless Center
3/1 - Duluth, Minn. - Duluth Ent. Convention Center
3/2 - Cedar Rapids, Iowa - U.S. Cellular Center
3/7 - Savannah, Ga. - Savannah Civic Center
3/8 - West Palm Beach, Fla. - Cruzan Amphitheatre