H2O Tour hits DTE Music Theatre

The crowd began cheering as Justin Moore graced the stage. They became hyped when Darius Rucker sang his hit “Alright.” And just about everybody was losing their minds when Brad Paisley opened his set with “Water.”

The H2O Tour, accompanied by three other performers including Steel Magnolia, stopped at the DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Mich., on Friday, June 11.

Early afternoon downpours of rain hardly stopped DTE’s parking lot from filling to capacity. As the sun broke out of the clouds, the outdoor stage, which was set up on the parking lot, came alive with performances by Easton Corbin, Josh Thompson, and Steel Magnolia. 

When the outdoor stage finished their sets, fans poured inside the venue. Quickly the concourse became a sea of tan country girls wearing blue-jean skirts and cowboy boots, greatly outnumbering the men who played cowboy for a day. 

Moore warmed up the crowd on the main stage with his set which included the hit “Small Town USA.” Darius Rucker was welcomed with an almost deafening cheer and his vocals warranted the greeting. The audience seemed not to care about Rucker’s rather boring stage presence, which he made up for with his skills on the guitar and well-written lyrics. 

Rucker covered what seems to be the quintessential concert country song, “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr., provided the night’s biggest moment of irony — one of country’s few black artists performing a song made famous by a known lover of the Confederacy.

The people inside the pavilion and those on the lawn stayed standing as there was a set change for the evening’s headliner, Brad Paisley. 

Paisley emerged from an elevated platform, in front of a packed pavilion and crowded lawn while a video showed him walking out of a pool leading into his latest single, “Water.” 

He had a solid mix of past and present songs, including one of his biggest called “Celebrity.” The song received much applause after an image of the Detroit Tigers logo appeared on screen prompting fans to raise their arms in excitement. 

Paisley rarely stayed in one place for long. He made good use out of the stage including walking out onto a center catwalk that extended passed the pit. Halfway through his set, he included people who had lawn seats by running up the pavilion steps and into the lawn to perform the second half of a song.     

Later in the evening he added a couple more local moments during a guitar riff of “Welcome to the Future.” 

The large screen showed clips of children holding a microphone saying what they wanted to be when they grew up. The two responses that peaked decibel levels were “I want to be a Michigan State Spartan” and later a “Michigan Wolverine.”   

Paisley only performed two songs during his encore, “Ticks” and “Alcohol,” which sort of became the theme of the crowd as the concert came to a close. The emptying venue resembled Windsor’s downtown bar strip on a Saturday night, full of intoxicated 19-year-old Michiganders.

But nonetheless, Paisley and the rest of the performers on the H2O tour made it so that one couldn’t help be a country fan on Friday night.