Shayna Kunz of Lansing and pal Amanda Geiger of Ferndale had one thing on their minds when they got up Saturday — Get to Hoedown and lay eyes on Jake Owen. They were so single-minded, they, along with a dozen or so female friends, were the very first people waiting in line to walk onto the Comerica Park grounds.
“We’re big country fans,” said the women, who wore matching purple “Yee Haw” T-shirts.
They weren’t alone for long.
After a deluge Friday kept the audience relatively light, country crowds came roaring back, filling Comerica Park Saturday for WYCD’s Downtown Hoedown that featured Molly Hunt, David Shelby, Jocaine, Emerson Drive, Craig Morgan and Jake Owen on the main stage. Blackberry Smoke headlined the second stage with their modern take on Southern rock.
And the rain stayed away for the most part. Emerson Drive said they were happy about the weather compared to past Hoedown shows where they had to “freeze their asses off.” Enjoying the soft summer weather, they got the crowd going as the sun went down, holding a sing-off with members of the band before playing an emotional rendition of “I’ve Had My Moments.”
Leading up to headliner Jake Owen, Morgan showed the crowd what he loves about, in this case, Saturday, singing hits including “That’s What I Love About Sunday,” “Almost Home,” and “Redneck Yacht Club.” The “This Ole Boy” artist squeezed in a little “Life In The Fast Lane” from The Eagles.
And then it was Owen’s turn to bring his “Summer Jams,” playing standards including “Startin’ With Me,” “Yee Haw,” and “Something About A Woman,” and interspersing it with new tunes. His wife Lacey swayed in the Hoedown audience in a summer dress and sky-high heels, cradling their baby, who wore a tiny pair of pink earphones.
Owen famously had a wardrobe malfunction at a recent concert, but despite the hopes of some in attendance, the man known for being barefoot in blue jeans managed to keep his clothes intact this time. The only wardrobe malfunction happened when Owen announced “A girl threw her thong already on stage.”
He bonded with the Detroit fans with a sports story, saying he’s an honest-to-goodness Detroit Tigers fan who was honored to be playing on the grounds of Comerica Park.
There was one brief bout of rain, but it didn’t seem to chase anyone away, with the crowd singing, screaming and dancing from start to finish. “Only country music fans are going to stand in the rain to hear some songs,” Owen said.
And the performance wasn’t good by accident.
Owen told WYCD in March how hard he works to bring it for the fans — and himself — saying, “I mean, whether it’s lighting or it’s sound or, you know, what guitar I play on a song, it’s constantly always changing, but it’s always changing for what I’d like to believe for the better. If you’re ever complacent or content with where you are, then therefore you don’t have visions to go further, and I’m constantly always tryin’ to go further.”
To shake things up for the Hoedown crowd, Jake’s band members swapped instruments and performed a loud crowd pleasing cover of the Beatie Boys’ “(You Gotta) Fight for Your Right (To Party!)”
— Steve Wiseman (@stevewisey) June 2, 2013
It was a change from the usual cover of Van Halen’s “Jump.”
— Christy Strawser, CBS Detroit