“I’m Pat Green, and rumors of my demise have been greatly exaggerated,” the Texas singer/songwriter exclaimed as he ended the encore for his sold-out set at ACL Live Saturday night.
Green’s had to endure some rumors about his career and its twists and turns for some while now. A good chunk of the press he did leading up to his last album, “Home,” was about coming back to Texas and its country music scene after spending a decade at Nashville record labels. While it’s a move he doesn’t regret, he has said he got tired of having to write songs by committee to satisfy a record executive, and he craved the freedom of being back on his own label.
He seemed to acknowledge all that with some stage banter Saturday night, saying, “Thank you all for supporting Texas music. It’s a bold state that requires bold action, and I don’t give a s*** what anyone in Nashville thinks. I’m gonna do my own thing.”
Like his show at Nutty Brown with Kyle Park last year, the 44-year-old Green poked fun at his age, his Nashville past and his image Saturday night, all while delivering a blistering, nearly two-and-a-half-hour show that proved why he can still sell out venues in his home state after 20 years.
In between songs, he worked in some wry mugging, jokes about his “fat ass” and self-aware pointing at the huge stage banner that bore his name. Green also regaled the audience with Texas-centric tales about some of the songs in the setlist.
“I played this one for the first time for Guy Clark, which is like walking up to Tom Brady and going, ‘Hey, watch this, I can throw a football, too!'” he said about his early hit “Dancehall Dreamer.”
“He listened to it, and then waited a bit, and said, ‘OK, What else do you have?'”
For the introduction to “While I Was Away,” from “Home,” Green told a story about how he first heard the Zane Williams-penned song about working parents while sitting in a supermarket parking lot in Austin, and knew he had to record it.
From there, the night spanned through most of Green’s entire career, hitting highlights like “Carry On,” “Feels Just Like It Should,” “Wave on Wave” and “Way Back Texas,” each song giving ample room for his band to improvise, especially on fiddle and electric guitar.
Besides a few selections from “Homes,” Green stuck to his back catalog, which the packed crowd was more than willing to sing along to. Green ended the set with “Texas on My Mind,” taking a break to walk up to the mezzanine to encourage people to get out of their seats.
“If y’all aren’t going to stand, I’ll walk up there and stand with you!”
The whole night was full of Texas shout-outs and career call-backs, and nobody looked like they were having more fun being the Texas soundtrack to someone’s Saturday night than Green. In his own words, he’s OK. He’s all right. He’s carrying on.
Another big draw of the night was Flatland Cavalry, the opening act reminiscent of early Turnpike Troubadours, but with a Lubbock twist. While the job of an opener is to hype the crowd for the main act, there were plenty of people in the audience who sang along to “February Snow” and “No Shade of Green” (at least, in my section of the mezzanine). If they keep this up, they’ll headline their own show at ACL Live within the next few years.
- “Feels Just Like it Should”
- “Here We Go”
- “Carry On”
- “Three Days”
- “Don’t Break My Heart Again”
- “Dancehall Dreamer”
- “Way Back Texas”
- “Let Me”
- “Baby Doll”
- “Girls From Texas”
- “All Just To Get To You”
- “Bet Yo Mama”
- “While I Was Away”
- “I’m Trying To Find It”
- “Wrapped In You”
- “Texas On My Mind”
- “Right Now”
- “May The Good Times Never End”
- “Take Me Out To A Dancehall”
- “Wave On Wave”