Zachary Hansen - ajc.com
It all started in 1989.
Those were the first words audience members at the Infinite Energy Center heard while patiently waiting for Alan Jackson to take the stage Saturday night. Those words kicked off a visual walk down memory lane showcasing Jackson’s career accolades. It ended with the thunderous statement: “Alan Jackson, you’re a true legend of country music.”
That 58-year-old legend then took the stage, wielding a guitar featuring an ornate gold decal, while also donning a powder-white cowboy hat.
With 20 studio albums under his belt, as well as multiple Grammy, Country Music Association (CMA) and Academy of Country Music (ACM) awards, he’s one of the few stalwarts of country music to never waver from his “true” country roots. That’s what his fans love about him.
Jackson constantly brought up that he and his band were playing real country music all night. In fact, during Jackson’s performance of “Livin’ On Love,” he signed and brought to the main stage a fan poster proudly stating “Keeping It Country” for all to see, brandishing it like a trophy.
But Jackson isn’t all talk. His performance encapsulated authentic country music, from down-to-Earth song introductions to the setlist construction and song compositions.
Throughout the night, Jackson often led into songs with a story, typically on how the song came to be. The first time he did this was as a lead-in to his first successful song, “Here in the Real World,” which charted at number three on the Hot Country Songs charts in early 1990.