When Blake Shelton performed before a capacity crowd at Wrigley Field in Chicago recently, he took time to offer a peek behind the curtain separating a big-time country act from the rest of the world. “Ever since this was booked, there have been meetings about how I should be the night I do this show,” Shelton told the crowd, according to CMT.com. “ ‘Chicago is a big market,’ they said. ‘Don’t talk about drinking and hunting. Don’t be yourself. Just sing your damn songs – and leave.’ ”
Just who “they” are was not made explicit, but you get the drift. Shelton has become so uber-successful, such a presence in the mainstream world of music and television, that he is now viewed as a goose whose ability to continue laying golden eggs needs to be protected and nurtured. And Shelton is not buying it. He knows that what got him to where he is today is a legitimate everyman connection to his listeners, a relationship built on trust and honesty, not pretension and manipulation. The stubbornness has served Shelton well. His current “Ten Times Crazier Tour” has been selling out everywhere it goes.
That tour, which also features support from guests Dan & Shay, Neal McCoy and the Band Perry, comes to the Darien Lake Performing Arts Center at 7 p.m. Saturday. Tickets are $40 for general admission on the lawn and $44.25 and $59.25 for reserved seating (www.livenation.com).
– Jeff Miers