By Konstantine Fekos
WEST MEAD TOWNSHIP —
Waiting in line for his “meet-and-greet” with The Band Perry by the grandstand racetrack Tuesday night, Brian Lindquist knew to expect a great show.
He walked back out to the crowd moments later, all smiles, ecstatic to have spent some quality time with the band.
“The last time I saw them, they signed the insert,” said the Erie resident, producing a copy of their second and latest album, Pioneer. “This year they signed the CD. It was really cool to talk to them.”
Lindquist has seen his beloved band perform live on at least three occasions in and around Pennsylvania.
And according to thousands of screaming fans that filled the stands and racetrack, his excitement was warranted.
The Band Perry took the Crawford County Fair Grandstand by smoky light-show storm at about 9:15 p.m., opening up to a crowd as loud and energetic as the performers themselves.
Country music fans just about sold out the grandstand and racetrack seating, creating a veritable sea of people in various states of country-style dress, dancing in their seats and jumping up on their feet.
The Band Perry kicked off their setlist with a mix of big hits and fan favorites, including “Done,” “You Lie” and “Miss You Being Gone.”
Lead singer Kimberly Perry riled up an already raucous crowd, asking all the country music lovers under the blue sky to clap like they meant it.
Needless to say, the crowd obliged her.
“I watched them at the (Academy of Country Music) Awards,” said Sherry Paddock, who traveled from New York for the concert. “It doesn’t get any better than this.”
The excitement was apparent on her face as she sat in the front row of the racetrack area beside fellow fans Lori Benson and Monica Flasher of Pennsylvania. Flasher is among those who plan to return for tonight’s Rodney Atkins with special guest Jana Kramer concert, which begins at 7:30 p.m.
The grandstand crowd also cheered and sang along to the night’s two opening acts, country music artists Kristen Kelly and Jerrod Niemann.
“I drove five hours from Gettysburg to see Jerrod,” said Kathy Wolfe of Hanover. “Seeing The Band Perry is just a plus.”
The concert marked the “last hurrah” of Wolfe’s summer as she sat with her friend LeAnn Wright of Chambersburg on the racetrack, their hands clapping and toes tapping.
Niemann and Kelly, with their respective bands, ushered in The Band Perry with about two hours of original songs and country-style covers.
Wolfe and Lindquist recalled The Band Perry opening for acts such as Rascal Flatts and Brad Paisley in previous venues, noting the group has grown in status and popularity relatively quickly over the past few years.
“I’d never seen people so packed for an opening act,” Lindquist said. “The Band Perry has really matured as a group. I knew from watching them in Ohio that Crawford County and Erie were in for a great show.”
The Band Perry is expected to perform alongside Rascal Flatts once again at the Erie Insurance Arena this fall.