Brad Paisley kicks off the 26-day run of his Weekend Warrior tour this week with a pair of California dates.
That includes Friday night’s concert at Fresno’s Save Mart Center.
It is the first of several country concerts happening at the arena in 2018 (Miranda Lambert plays Feb. 9 and Shania Twain on Aug. 1) and a long-awaited return for Paisley fans. The last time the guitar-slingin’ country star played Fresno (2010), Vampire Weekend was breaking big on the radio (and also stopping through the area).
Here is what we can expect from Paisley this time around, with some help from 102.7 The Wolf DJ Greg Lane.
Some guitar love
Paisley is well known (and respected) for his guitar-playing prowess. Lane ranks him as one of the best players in music today. The guy has his own signature guitar – a Fender Telecaster with silver sparkle finish and black and silver paisley pickguard. It was one of five signature models Fender debuted at the National Association of Music Merchants showcase last summer.
For those looking to spend hours geeking out on his collection of guitars (and amps and effects pedals), a section on Paisley’s website is dedicated to his gear. Also, his Instragram account has had some guitar photos lately.
Hit after hit
The thing about Paisley is, he’s been doing this for nearly two decades. His first No. 1 single, “He Didn’t Have to Be,” was released in 1999. His latest, “Today,” was released in 2016. In between, he’s had enough hits that Billboard’s best-of list was limited to 15 and admittedly left stuff off. First on the list is 2009’s “American Saturday Night.”
Hearing them all performed in succession can be revelatory, Lane says.
“You will realize all the music he’s given us and wish the show wouldn’t end.”
Country musicians are known for supporting young talent by taking them out on tour. Paisley is no exception.
The list of his past tour openers includes The Band Perry, Easton Corbin, Miranda Lambert, Jerrod Niemann and Parmalee. This time he’s bringing along Dustin Lynch, Chase Bryant and Lindsay Ell.
Lynch is well known in Fresno. He has performed here as an opening act (for Luke Bryan) and a headliner (at the Clovis Rodeo in 2013). His latest album, “Current Mood,” was released in September. It’s sexy, according to Rolling Stone.
Bryant has been a staple at local radio station shows the past few years. He played KJUG’s annual Jugfest in 2015.
Ell is an artist to watch. She was one of CMT’s Next Women of Country (and Bobby Bones’ one-time girlfriend, for a bit of trivia).
A surprise or two
Paisley likes to do this thing where he finds kids in the audience and gives them one of his guitars. He makes sure they know they’re expected to play it. He’s also been known to honor military service members from the stage. He did it every night of the tour last year. Then there was the time he invited a fan (and fellow guitarist) on stage to jam in Colorado.
The guy did four songs with Paisley’s band.
Six other noteworthy attractions this week:
- Tommy Castro and the Painkillers, 8 p.m. Friday. Fulton 55, 875 Divisadero St., $22-$25. 559-412-7400, www.fulton55.com
- Fifth annual Bizare Art Festival, 11 a.m. Saturday. 4545 E. Church Ave., $5-$10. 209-581-1898, Bizare Art Festival on Facebook.
- Thirty-One Celebration tour, 10 a.m. Friday and Saturday. The Square at Campus Pointe. Free. www.mythirtyone.com
- Burn Out: Cannabis, Art, Music Festival (THIS EVENT HAS BEEN CANCELED), 4 p.m. Saturday. Tulare County Fairgrounds, 620 South K St. $20, 21+, www.livemusiccity.com
- Queens of the Stone Age, 8 p.m. Monday. Selland Arena, 700 M St. $39.50-$49.50. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com
- Kinky Boots, 7:30 p.m. Jan. 31 and Feb. 1. Saroyan Theatre, 730 M St. $29-$69. 800-745-3000, www.ticketmaster.com