TAMPA — You want it, you got it. Country star Blake Shelton cranked Young MC’s old school “Bust a Move” on the speakers before descending onto the stage Friday night at the Midflorida Credit Union Amphitheater. Opening with “All About the Night” Shelton let the crowd know early that the night was all about two things: “country music and drinking.” And that’s what they came for. Beers in the air, the crowd drank in Shelton’s playful banter, loving his pledge to win over all the men who’d been dragged to the show by their women.
The Oklahoma native was clearly having a good time, drenched in sweat and joking about his boozing habits as he played a nearly two hour set that kept the crowd on its feet. Shelton may have been all about the drinking, but that didn’t take away from the talent the immensely likeable country boy radiates. Shelton showcased his range moving from sexy soulful “What I Wouldn’t Give” to “Kiss my Country Ass.” As he moved from hit to hit, Shelton proved to be one of those performers whose songs you may like on the radio, but hearing the live performance makes you love them – and him. He’s got that one of the guys, good ol’ boy persona that reels an audience in and makes you wish you could hang out all day fishing – and of course drinking – with him. Shelton’s Ten Times Crazier tour also featured Florida native Easton Corbin. The 2010 Billboard Top New Artist seemed to take a few songs to get loose and let the crowd see what was under his ol’ hat, but once he did, the energy he gave the ready-to-party crowd was commendable. He’s not the showman many of his country peers are, but from “Roll With It” to “All Over the Road,” Corbin’s best asset is undoubtedly his voice. A vocal talent that both channels a bit of Kenny Chesney and George Strait, Corbin seemed like he was having the most fun playing a variety of other artists’ songs; the turning point of the performance was his version of Alan Jackson’s “Where I Come From.” Corbin may have been channeling some of the greats, but by the end of the set he’d made it clear he is a talent to be emulated himself.