CATOOSA — With his cowboy hat and signature mustache, Alan Jackson brought hit after hit to a rowdy sold out crowd at The Joint on Friday.
Jackson, with more than 30 No. 1 hits over more than two decades, is a staple of country music, and Friday, he proved why.
Not afraid to let the steel guitar shine with traditional honky tonk sounds, Jackson plays music that still holds up today.
“Great people, country music fans. Everyone treats us nice, so we’re glad to be back,” Jackson told the crowd to huge applause.
Of the country music from the 1990s and 2000s, Jackson was one of the most notable — and one of the most memorable for me.
While driving to school, my mother would play country radio, dominated in the early ’90s by Jackson and his peers. Jackson stuck out to me as we all sang along, mom holding my brother’s hand except for when she had to shift.
That was the Jackson I saw at The Joint at Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tulsa on Friday night, one who still reigns over country music and who know what his fans want.
Jackson used that position to explore a new sound with his latest album focused on the bluegrass genre, “The Bluegrass Album,” which should rank among his best work. It highlights his songwriting and sheer talent as a musician.
But Friday was about the hits.
From “Gone Country,” “Chattahoochee” and “Summertime Blues,” to “Livin’ on Love,” “Drive,” and “Where Were You (When the World Stopped Turning),” Jackson showed his range from upbeat dance music to sentimental ballads.
Jackson played shorter versions of some of his biggest hits. With more than 30, it would be a challenge to fit them all — or even most — into a concert. While it sometimes left me wanting more, it’s a good compromise to give the people what they want.
But Friday night, Jackson showed why he’s near the top in country music, even if he is still chasin’ that neon rainbow.