Rascal Flatts sets arena alight with music, fireworks

07/23/2010 9:52 AM

07/23/2010 9:52 AM

In the days leading up to Thursday night's concert at Intrust Bank Arena, Rascal Flatts members Gary LeVox, Joe Don Rooney and Jay DeMarcus said that at their show they'd throw the biggest party the city had ever seen. They did their best live up to those words.

A deafening explosion of fireworks kicked off the show. They lit up the stage shooting from a giant guitar in the back of the arena that lay dormant for the opening acts.

The headliner erupted with "Bob That Head" and sections that had been sitting for most of Thursday night's concert stood and screamed.

Rascal Flatts came to Wichita, and about a third of the way through the set DeMarcus, the bassist, asked the crowd who remembered the band's first hit song "Praying for Daylight."

"We're going to take you on a ride celebrating the last 10 years of Rascal Flatts," DeMarcus said. "Starting with 'Praying for Daylight.' "

LeVox followed that by immediately jumping into "Here's to You," which seemed to breathe life into the crowd.

"There's nothing like Wichita," LeVox sang. "So here's to you."

As he lifted the microphone in the air — signaling the end of the song — confetti cannons blasted red, white and blue pieces of paper into the air.

Opening act Kellie Pickler and her band didn't take long to rock the arena. Dolly Parton's video introduction on the big screen set the mood for a mostly up-tempo set.

There were times that Pickler's show felt more like a rock session than a country show. There were multiple guitar solos and Pickler's diamond-studded microphone stand, microphone and dress contributed to the rock vibe, too.

The "American Idol" finalist opened with a solo version of "Best Days of Your Life," usually a duet with Taylor Swift. Pickler also kept up a dialogue with the women, teens and girls in the audience.

It worked.

"Have you ever been to a wedding where you wanted to throw rocks instead of rice?" she asked the audience before singing "Rocks Instead of Rice."

She got the response she was looking for all night. It was apparent after closing her set with "Red High Heels" that she'd won the crowd over and set the stage for the headliners.

The other opening act, Chris Young, only played five songs in his set, but crisp vocals and familiar songs like "Gettin' You Home (The Black Dress Song)" set the stage for a heck of a party.

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