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Concert review: Chris Stapleton wows sold-out crowd at Chesapeake Energy Arena

Chris Stapleton performs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday night. [PHOTO PROVIDED]
Chris Stapleton performs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday night. [PHOTO PROVIDED]

In the past, if anyone would ever ask me what makes a great country song, my usual answer would be it must include a fiddle or a steel guitar, and preferably both. My answer today for anyone with the same question is just listen to a Chris Stapleton song.

Stapleton brought his All-American Road Show to a sold-out Chesapeake Energy Arena on Friday night, and even though he said he was feeling a little under the weather, no one was asking for their money back.

A true artist of substance, Stapleton on Friday night showcased why he is one of the biggest acts – if not the biggest - in country music today.

The Kentucky-born Stapleton performed several hits from his first two studio albums, the triple platinum and critically acclaimed “Traveller” in 2015 and Grammy Award winner “From A Room: Volume 2” released in 2017, and even treated the Chesapeake crowd to some of his new stuff.

Judging from the response to the newer songs Stapleton may have a third smash record in the future. He performed “Bad Side of the Blood” which he started playing on tour this summer.

“Everybody else in the family tree, turned out the opposite way from me,” Stapleton croons in his raspy, blues voice. “I got something they don’t have. I got the bad side of the blood.”

He also included the even newer “Starting Over” and “Run Maggie Run” on Friday night, the latter a song that Stapleton said was about the loss of a dear friend, a faithful four-legged companion. Anyone who has owned a good dog will relate to it.

It was my first time to see Stapleton in concert, and I knew going in he was a gifted songwriter and vocalist, but I did not realize he was just as amazing on the electric guitar. Stapleton and the talented band kept the Oklahoma City crowd on their feet much of the night.

He brought his opening act, Kendell Marvel, back on stage to sing “Hard Livin,” which Stapleton co-wrote with Marvel. The Brothers Osbourne, who warmed the crowd up immediately before Stapleton, also returned to the stage to sing “Get Down to Arkansas” with him.

Stapleton didn’t always fill big arenas playing with a talented band. He told the Oklahoma City fans on Friday night that he started, and often misses, performing solo on stage with just a guitar before a small audience.

Since Stapleton missed playing that way, he said he decided to start doing it more on tour, and it was perfect for his performance of “Whiskey and You,” one of the many great songs from his debut Traveller album.

The hits off that album include the title track “Traveller” (He said the words for the song came to him as the sun came over the horizon while driving in the desert), “Fire Away,” “Parachute,” “Nobody to Blame,” “Might As Well Get Stoned” and, of course, “Tennessee Whiskey.”

David Allan Coe was the first to record “Tennessee Whiskey.” George Jones’ version was great. But Stapleton has made the classic song his own for a generation of country fans.

He ended his two-hour performance Friday night at the Peake with “Tennessee Whiskey.” Oh, Stapleton did return for an encore, but it was anticlimactic after “Tennessee Whiskey,” which has become his signature song among a collection of hits.

At one point during the show Stapleton told a cowboy in the crowd, “I don’t know what you are saying, but thank you for taking off your hat. I know what that means.”

Everyone who is a country music fan should be tipping their hat to the man who is saving country music.

—Ed Godfrey, The Oklahoman

Ed Godfrey

Ed Godfrey was born in Muskogee and raised in Stigler. He has worked at The Oklahoman for 25 years. During that time, he has worked a myriad of beats for The Oklahoman including both the federal and county courthouse in Oklahoma City for more... Read more ›

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