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Continued: Concert review: Chicks dig Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift

  • Article by: JON BREAM , Star Tribune
  • Last update: October 10, 2008 - 11:56 PM

Rascal Flatts and Taylor Swift are a perfect country-music concert combination -- they both appeal mostly to teen and 20-something women.

That could explain why females outnumbered males about 4 to 1 Friday night at the Flatts/Swift concert at the sold-out Xcel. Indeed, there were some boyfriends -- or husbands -- who dutifully tagged along. I can imagine the debates, er, discussions, that took place on the drive home.

Dude: Well, the visuals were kinda cool. The three hugely tall video screens -- with a curved one in the middle -- were different. That was one of the more elaborate stage runways I've seen -- a rectangular loop with performing platforms lit from underneath. I liked the way the three Rascals descended from the rafters on a platform to start the show. And, at the end, they released a ton of balloons and confetti like it was the Republican Convention all over again.

Dudette: I loved the vocal harmonies. Those three guys have so much energy. And they're so cute. Gary LeVox's voice is so pretty, especially when he sings all those romantic lyrics.

Dude: It's sugary stuff with simpleton lyrics and sometimes too much melodrama. Like a boy band hiding in country music. That's why all the guys I saw were standing there with their hands in their pockets -- or their arms folded -- while all you gals were singing along to every word.

Dudette: Wasn't that cute when Gary pulled that little girl onstage to sing and gave her the mike and she worked it?

Dude: The guest I preferred was the animated character -- he looked like he jumped out of Rock Band or Guitar Hero -- playing Zeppelin, Hendrix and other classic-rock guitar licks before the encore. And the Rascals did an alright version of "Life Is a Highway," that Tom Cochrane song. That Joe Don Rooney plays pretty good guitar, but he's no Brad Paisley or Keith Urban.

Dudette: Rascal Flatts are good at a little of everything. Rock, country, gospel, pop, R&B, folk, ballads.

Dude: It was all the same songs they played at the X last October. That rap-rock song that they closed with -- is it called "Bob That Head"? -- was just loud and monotonous.

Dudette: But I bet you liked Taylor Swift.

Dude: She really connects with the teens. That "Tim McGraw" is pretty good for a wistful love song. I know you like it.

Dudette: She's empowering to high school and college-age girls. She really sticks it to guys when she sings "Teardrops on My Guitar" and "Picture To Burn."

Dude: That was pretty cool to see this tall blonde in a sequined gold mini-dress banging on a garbage can in tandem with her fiddler on that "Should've Said No." I think maybe we should check out that new album she was plugging. What's it called?

Dudette: "Fearless."

For set lists and fan comments, www.startribune.com/poplife

Jon Bream • 612-673-1719

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