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Sweet Home Alpharetta: Alabama plays Verizon



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April 29, 2014
ALPHARETTA, Ga. -- After a picture-perfect day Sunday, April 27, the bottom fell out a couple of hours before showtime at Verizon Wireless Amphithetre at Encore Park and made prospects dim for a comfortable evening for Alabama's All American Tour. There were still a good many empty seats when Will Hoge took the stage, but the sky stayed clear and everyone enjoyed a beautiful spring evening. It was cool enough not to need the huge overhead fans.

Will Hoge is typical of so many artists who have a great sound, but just somehow have missed that big break that propels them to the big time. With any luck, his exposure to legions of Alabama fans will give him the bump he needs. His group served up a heapin' helpin' of Southern-fried rock 'n' roll sounding a good bit like Tom Petty with top notes of Lynyrd Skynyrd, especially on Craig Pair's piano work in "Suitcase Full of Empty Dreams," and the Oak Ridge Boys, when they sang an almost a cappella "I'm So Lonesome I Could Cry" with just an acoustic guitar accompaniment.

They definitely had a good beat, and you could two-step to it. The audience grew more respectful and less chatty as the show wore on, and they were clapping along on the last couple of songs. The enthusiastic drummer Ron Killen, was similar to Coldplay's Will Champion in both technique and appearance. Jessie Isley's bluesy guitar work was reminiscent of Stevie Ray Vaughan on the moving "When I Get My Wings."

Alabama superstars Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry and Jeff Cook took the stage to a roar from the crowd, and Randy had the faithful well in hand, at times getting them to wave their hands in the air like they just didn't care and occasionally inciting couples to slow dance in the roomy rows at Verizon.

They opened with a spirited "If You're Gonna Play in Texas (Ya Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band)" with Cook sawing away on a neon green instrument that looked more Stratocaster than Stradivarius. On many songs they fielded six guitars!

They made mention of their latest album, Alabama & Friends, released last year. They took a tweeted request of "Old Flame," and dedicated a song to a couple who, like the group itself, was celebrating a 40th anniversary.

They gave no less than four encores, rounding out their two-hour performance, which was full of their greatest hits. After a moving rendition of "Angels Among Us," Owen ended the show shouting "Peace and Love!"

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Tags: Community & Outreach

  1. report print email
    Worth a Drive Back!
    April 30, 2014 | 11:06 PM

    As a former "Alpharettian" who has moved to Florida, I wish I could have returned to hear this concert. Thanks for this great review that gave me a taste of what it was like. I could almost hear it in my head, and I'll be humming the songs for days.

    Tracy Harrast
    Jacksonville Beach, FL
  2. report print email
    Great review
    April 30, 2014 | 11:07 PM

    This review was great, my only regret I was NOT there. Thanks for the play by play, review and next time I plan on being there to hear this great band's famous hits!


    McPatti
    Milton
  3. report print email
    sweet home alpharetta
    April 30, 2014 | 11:10 PM

    Very interesting, made me wish I was there!

    Barbara
    St. Petersburg
  4. report print email
    Alabama plays Verizonn
    April 30, 2014 | 11:11 PM

    Got a whiff of the sweet Southern home of my youth. Impressed with the comparisons that were made, definitely piqued my interest to hear the real thing and renewed my interest in this music.

    Cathy Cline
    Sterling
  5. report print email
    Cool
    April 30, 2014 | 11:23 PM

    Awesome. Makes me wish I could have gone. Great to know about all the neat events going on in my backyard.

    Jamie Ward
    Milton
  6. report print email
    Sweet Home Alpharetta: Alabama plays Verizon
    April 30, 2014 | 11:34 PM

    Loved the thorough and ambient review of this show. It makes me want to pay closer attention to this famous classic southern rock band.

    ED Murphy
    Wilmington
  7. report print email
    Good Review
    April 30, 2014 | 11:38 PM

    Good review-- let's hope it helps with his big break- every little bit counts!

    Soniah Kamal
    Johns Creek
  8. report print email
    Fine Reviiew
    May 01, 2014 | 06:07 AM

    So happy to hear about good Li e music. Keep it comin'


    ed huff
    amherst
  9. report print email
    Alabama in Alpharetta!
    May 01, 2014 | 06:24 AM

    Brings back memories of my youth! Wish I could have been there...particularly to have seen the talented Wil Hodge!

    Merry Beth Stephens
    Roswell
  10. report print email
    Excellent Review
    May 01, 2014 | 06:41 AM

    A lovely review of a fantastic concert. Let's see more concerts like this in Alpharetta, and reviews from Ms. Williams

    Renea
    Atlanta
  11. report print email
    Great review
    May 01, 2014 | 07:18 AM

    Thanks for such a lovely review of an evening I wish I could have shared.

    Leslie Montemayor
    Toccoa
  12. report print email
    Maybe Next Time
    May 01, 2014 | 08:26 AM

    Wow! I wish I had been there. Sounds like a great evening of music and fellowship.

    Amber
    Adairsville
  13. report print email
    Concert
    May 01, 2014 | 09:33 AM

    Sounds like a great night!

    Monteen McCord
    Canton
  14. report print email
    Great Review!
    May 01, 2014 | 09:52 AM

    Sorry I missed this, thanks for the great review!

    VAL MYERS
    MARIETTA
  15. report print email
    Awesome review!
    May 01, 2014 | 10:28 AM

    Sounds like it was a great show!

    Tom Bruner
    Roswell
  16. report print email
    Sweet Home Headliner
    May 01, 2014 | 10:48 AM

    Thanks for a sweet review of the much cherished band, Alabama!

    Robin Donnelly Bandemir
    Johns Creek, GA
  17. report print email
    Great Review
    May 01, 2014 | 12:16 PM

    Such a great review. It was described so well I felt like I was there.

    Wendi Mitilinakis
    Blairsville
  18. report print email
    Thanks for the details!
    May 01, 2014 | 12:29 PM

    Felt like I was right back there in the audience. Great to see someone else really appreciated and took note of the special aspects of this great show.

    Will Dempsey
    Smynings
  19. report print email
    Worth reading this review
    May 01, 2014 | 06:43 PM

    Great read and great review. Wow it makes me want to be there. I will have to put it on my bucket list.

    Sand
    Alpharetta
  20. report print email
    Alabama concert
    May 01, 2014 | 07:01 PM

    Wow-wish I could have gone to the concert. The reviewer covered all bases and took me back to my college years when I would see Alabama and others like them in concert. I am glad to hear that they still "have it". Thanks, Jemille for taking me back in time!

    Carolyn
    Woodstock
  21. report print email
    Hated to Miss it!
    May 01, 2014 | 10:48 PM

    I hated to miss this wonderful concert. I feel like I was there, just the same.


    Kemla
    Greensboro
  22. report print email
    Hated to Miss it!
    May 01, 2014 | 10:48 PM

    I hated to miss this wonderful concert. I feel like I was there, just the same.


    Kemla
    Greensboro
  23. report print email
    Hated to Miss it!
    May 01, 2014 | 10:48 PM

    I hated to miss this wonderful concert. I feel like I was there, just the same.


    Kemla
    Greensboro
  24. report print email
    review
    May 02, 2014 | 03:05 PM

    Excellent well written review that captivates all the moments of the concert. Easy to read, the author puts the reader in the audience.

    Patrick Brady
    Treasure Island
  25. report print email
    Missed it!
    May 05, 2014 | 09:35 PM

    Thank you Jemille Williams for painting the songs for us! So sorry I missed this show...next time! Good luck for a great future to Will.

    Brenda Shirer
    Davis Island, Florida
  26. report print email
    Alabama Concert
    May 05, 2014 | 10:09 PM

    Sounds like a great concert. Nice write up.


    Nat Parker
    Marietta
  27. report print email
    Might want to check your names
    May 09, 2014 | 10:34 PM

    Will's keyboard player is Brady Beard, not Craig Pair. The drummer is Brian Killian, not Ron Killen.

    Tim
    Roswell
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