Tracy Lawrence kicks off Independence Day with concert


Danielle Tadlock

Country artist Tracy Lawrence performed at the Red, White and Blue Days Thursday.

Bob Galuski, Editor-in-Chief

It was Tracy Lawrence’s rendition of his single “Paint Me a Birmingham” that brought the crowd to its feet, hollering for more from the country musician.

As Lawrence performed his 2003 hit single Thursday in Morton Park as part of Charleston’s Red, White and Blue Days, the crowd couldn’t help but sing along and wave their arms.

Lawrence, who released his latest album “Headlights, Taillights and Radios” in 2013, promised he would stick to mostly his older hits – and spent a majority of the evening reliving the past.

Kicking off the concert with one of the singles from “Headlights, Taillights and Radios,” Lawrence belted out the lyrics to “Footprints on the Moon.”

From there, he took the crowd – which spread across the softball field of Morton Park, packed with lawn chairs and blankets – through a tour of his singles, including “Sticks and Stones” and “Alibis.”

Lawrence also played his 1994 single “Renegades, Rebels and Rogues” for the “outlaws out there,” he said, laughing.

Lawrence stuck to mostly his older classics, citing that he “missed country music” as the reason. “I wish everybody recording now the best of luck, but man, I wish it was how it used to be,” he told the audience.

Although he stuck to his promise of mostly older hits, Lawrence also crooned newer singles from “Headlights, Taillights and Radios” like “Lies,” garnering thundering applause from the audience.

Lawrence also made sure the audience was as involved as much possible.

He threw guitar picks and signed cowboy hats to give to the members. During his rendition of “Time Marches On,” he would only take the chorus lines from the audience, who joined in quickly.

With the smell of hotdogs and kettle corn wafting in the air, and the night alive with Lawrence’s music, high spirits were rampant among the audience.

Lawn chairs and blankets spread across the softball field, spilling into the outer part of the field.

Charleston and surrounding community members packed the park to listen to Lawrence serenade them and open up the Independence Day weekend.

Missing from the set list was Lawrence’s 2007 smash hit, “Find Out Who Your Friends Are,” which Lawrence described as “industry shaking.” Charleston’s Red, White and Blue Days continues Friday with a Chalk In at 9:30 a.m. and a parade at 1 p.m. in Morton Park.

The celebration will conclude at dusk with fireworks at Coles County Airport.

For more photos from the Tracy Lawrence concert, please check out the photo gallery.

Bob Galuski can be reached at 581-2812 or [email protected].