Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 | 2:38 p.m.
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In the world of country music, Lady Antebellum has gotten used to taking ownership of things. Take, for example, three platinum albums, five No. 1 singles, six Grammys and more than a dozen nods from country’s two flagship organizations, the Academy of Country Music and the Country Music Association. They continued that trend Friday night when their sold-out “Own The Night” tour stop played the Joint at the Hard Rock Hotel.
The trio -- Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley and Hillary Scott -- opened their 90-minute, 17-song set with “We Owned the Night,” the namesake of their third album and second headlining tour. Kelley wasted no time in addressing the crowd, “We’re going to ask you to sing a lot tonight, is that alright?” Absolutely. Some 4,000 fans happily obliged, singing a chorus of “Oh, ohhh, ohhh, ohh, ohh” with the trio as the song drew to a close.
The set featured five other songs from “Own the Night”: “Dancing Away With My Heart,” “Wanted You More,” When You Were Mine,” “As You Turn Away” and “Just a Kiss.” “Stars Tonight,” “Our Kind of Love,” “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore,” “Hello World,” “American Honey,” “Perfect Day,” “I Run to You,” “Looking for a Good Time” and “Need You Now” took fans back to their familiar favorites.
Consummate performers, Haywood, Kelley and Scott worked the stage from catwalk to either side in a tight, yet seemingly organic way that showed they were keenly aware of one another and the crowd. Just before Scott took the reigns of an all-strings version of “American Honey,” she counted 17 empty beer cups belonging to one concertgoer and commented on what a good time the audience must be having.
Although Scott is engaged to Lady A drummer Chris Tyrrell, she and Kelley share a unique chemistry. As they made their way through “Just a Kiss,” “Wanted You More” and “As You Turn Away,” songs about love and loss, the pair seemed so connected that a casual observer could mistake them for an item.
Haywood, who is sometimes overshadowed by his bandmates, made his presence clear with a memorable guitar solo leading into “Love Don’t Live Here Anymore” and beautiful piano work on “Hello World.”
Opening acts Randy Montana and Josh Kelley joined the trio halfway through the set with covers of “Midnight Rider” by the Allman Brothers Band and “Black Water” by the Doobie Brothers. The trio also covered Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”
By concert’s end, fans were gushing that Lady Antebellum offered the best live experience they had ever seen. If that’s a measure of success, the trio indeed owned the night.
Editor’s note: Thanks to Erik Kabik for his photo gallery of Lady A.
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