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Paisley's sense of humor shines in inaugural show

  • The Wichita Eagle
  • Published Saturday, Jan. 9, 2010, at 11:39 p.m.
  • Updated Thursday, June 26, 2014, at 8:33 p.m.

WHAT DO YOU THINK?

How do you think opening night at Intrust Bank Arena went?


If Intrust Bank Arena's opening night crowd did not already appreciate the squeaky-clean newness of its surroundings, opening-night act Brad Paisley made it his job to point it out.

"There's no gum under your seat," he said, moments into his headlining show on Saturday night. "You can check, but there is no gum under your seat. No one has spilled beer. No one has ever puked in this building. But I have a feeling we're going to change all that tonight."

Paisley, a country star known for his clever lyrics, skilled guitar playing, multiple awards and aw-shucks-ma'am good looks, opened Intrust Bank Arena with an energetic country show in front of nearly 10,000 fans.

He was welcomed by a crowd already on its feet, giddy about the new venue and more than adequately warmed up by opening acts Justin Moore and Miranda Lambert.

"Someone asked me earlier, 'How's it feel to be the first person in this building?' " Paisley joked during the show. "I said, 'You should ask Justin Moore.' "

Paisley emerged onto the stage without fanfare, wearing jeans, a blue plaid shirt and a white cowboy hat. He walked to the end of a long catwalk, starting his set with an acoustic version of his hit "Start A Band." Halfway through the song, a curtain dropped, the lights went up and his band appeared, illuminated by high-tech video screens behind them.

The set continued with many of Paisley's well-known hits, including "Celebrity," "Mud on the Tires," "Wrapped Around" and "American Saturday Night," which Paisley was quick to point out the crowd was enjoying.

Appreciative fans sang along loudly to many of the songs and cheered for Paisley's performance of "Waitin' on a Woman," during which the singer's music video — featuring Andy Griffith — played behind him. At the end of the song, Paisley stood high on the stage in front of the screen, silhouetted as he performed a lengthy guitar solo.

His set included nods to current and classic country stars. He played a short cover of Hank Williams Jr.' s "A Country Boy Can Survive," and a brief snippet of Johnny Cash's "Walk the Line."

Paisley's signature humor was evident throughout the show.

"This place is so new that the chairs in my dressing room still had the tags on them," he said. "If you'd like to know, the chairs in my dressing room cost $125.99."

Paisley fan Amanda Milbradt was among many opening-night attendees who came to see the star perform. The fact that it was in a new arena was just a bonus.

"I just love him," she said. "I love the style of his songs. A lot of them are very funny."

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