Photos and Review by Brian Gallo
Show Photos HERE
I was one of the first through the doors at the Mohegan Sun Arena. I made my way down to the floor and stage where two lonely looking guitars sat behind two empty stools. One stool held a cold bottle of water, the other awaited Aaron Lewis. Off to the side another empty chair for his partner who plays slide guitar awaited. Behind it all hung a huge American Flag proudly. The near sell out crowd filled the arena slowly entertained to a mix of country hits. The atmosphere was very relaxed with the occassional call out or hoot and scream.
Aaron walked casually across the stage, took his stool and guitar and without a word broke into his first song of the night “So Far Away”. At once the mood was set, it was like he was sitting in a small local bar to a small crowd despite the arena being huge.
In true Aaron Lewis form he spoke to crowd, smoked an E-Cig, drank what he said was to be whiskey from his solo cup. In his own words he said he gave up smoking pot and smoking in general but is drinking whiskey and not sure how the trade off works health wise.
The next memorable moment was a small medley of cover songs that included “Time After Time” (originally by Cindy Lauper) and “Wanted Dead Or Alive” (originally by Bon Jovi). The crowd sung loudly along with him.
This was followed by a new song he recently wrote about country music and radio stations. In his own words “there is nothing country about it”. This was followed by his talk about the extreme cold weather here in New England. He was happy to be back but his choice words about the cold weather I will leave out of the review. He was unhappy about not being able to go snowmobiling at all.
Not on the original set list he played “Right Here Waiting”. With a twist of humor he claimed to have messed the song up the night prior and said he would try again. He asked the crowd to help sing in case he did mess it up no one would notice. A few lines he mumbled the words and taunted the crowd we were suppose to be helping more.
One of the biggest reactions of the night came during “Massachusetts”. The crowd was yelling for this song all night. The performance of this song was received with standing ovations, applause and whistling more than any other song of the night. When the line about the Red Sox hat was sung, you can hear a mix of cheers and boos between Red Sox and Yankees fans!
This led into a string of powerful songs that included a cover of “Rooster” (originally by Alice In Chains), “It’s Been Awhile” and “Country Boy”. The loudest crowd moment of night that included flags being waived by fans was when he sung “Now two flags fly above my land that really sum up how I feel – One is the colors that fly high and proud – The red, the white, the blue – The other ones got a rattlesnake with a simple statement made “Don’t tread on me” is what it says and I’ll take that to my grave – Because, this is me – I’m proud to be American and strong in my beliefs.”
His encore was also improvised. What was supposed to be one song turned into three amazing songs. A great cover of “Turn The Page” (originally by Bob Seger), “Lessons Learned” , and “Outside”. He then took a moment to remember that WCCC was the first radio station to play “Outside”. He said “I don’t know what happened but the musical landscape of Connecticut will never be the same” in reference to WCCC no longer in business.
in my opinion the most heart felt moment of the night. He stopped cold and remembered it was the 12th anniversary of The Station fire in Rhode Island. In my entire life I never heard a moment of silence like this. A near sell out crowd and you can hear a pin drop.
To sum this all up, this show was powerful. His voice, his talent, the words to the songs, the atmosphere and more were felt all night long. I am not a big country fan, but put that to bed cause I also do not feel this is meant just for country folks as some think. So get out and go see Aaron Lewis solo acoustic.
Photos and Review by Brian Gallo