Hank came, and brought his rowdy fans

by The City Wire staff ([email protected]) 141 views 

FAYETTEVILLE — No matter how one feels about his music or lyrics, most would agree — Hank Williams Jr. can put on a show.

Several thousand fans gathered at the Arkansas Music Pavilion Saturday night (April 28) to hear the legendary country music star entertain — and he delivered. The show was full of new and classic material, and even those not completely familiar with Williams’ music recognized plenty of tunes throughout the evening.

With hits like “A Country Boy Can Survive,” “Dixie on My Mind,” and “All My Rowdy Friends Are Coming Over Tonight,” Williams, has made his own way in the music industry. As the son of the country music icon, Hank Williams, Hank Jr. began singing his father’s songs at age 8 and was touring by age 9.

His fame is born of a large and loyal fan base that have helped him earn 20 gold albums, six platinum albums (one of which has sold more than five million copies) and 13 chart-topping albums. His shows have been selling out for decades.
Jamey Johnson opened the show. His performance was solid but more subdued than one might have expected. Known for songs like “In Color,” “High Cost of Living” and “The Dollar,” there were plenty of cheers during his set, and fans familiar with his music sung along. His classic country voice and style was a nice pairing to the sound of Williams’.

Although the audience was attentive during Johnson’s set, the anticipation for Williams was palatable once Johnson left the stage. The crowd took five collective steps forward during the break, and a few more once the stage lights dimmed and the band made its entrance. Williams was the last to walk on, and the screaming commenced in earnest.

The night was chock full of everything you might expect from a country music act: lots of talk of women, drinking and hard work, with plenty of Southern pride. Williams isn’t shy about his political beliefs, and he injected his opinions into his performance, both musically and in the banter between songs.

At one point in the evening, he took a seat behind the piano and talked about his days growing up in a house where musicians like Elvis, Jerry Lee Lewis and Fats Domino hung around. Midway through the show, the band left Williams alone on stage with nothing but a chair and a guitar. This slowed the pace and gave the show a more intimate feel. But before too long, the band was back, and the party returned to full swing.

Officials for the AMP knew that this would likely be their biggest show of the season and planned accordingly. A larger, professional stage rig was set up next to the smaller stage, where the other AMP concerts have taken place. This ensured that the audience’s line of sight wasn’t obstructed.

Booking Williams was a real coup for the AMP. He hails from the Williams country music dynasty, his fans adore him, his musical ability is impressive and he’s got stage presence to spare.

It was a big ole country shindig at the AMP on Saturday night, and Hank Williams Jr. was the life of the party.