Fresno was “Doing It to Country Songs” with Blake Shelton


Photo by: Larry Valenzuela

Blake Shelton serenades the crowd at the Savemart Center in Fresno on March 3, 2017 photo/ Larry Valenzuela

        Flannel, boots and denim. Fresno’s Save Mart Center was the place to be for country lovers on March 3. Singer, entertainer and coach on the hit show “The Voice,” Blake Shelton gave Fresno a night to remember with his “Doing It to Country Songs” concert tour.

        The night started with “The Voice” Season 11 winner, Sundance Head, who gave the already nearly filled arena a bluesy kind of country rock beginning.

His range and rich tone gave soul into every song he sang. His cover of Alicia Key’s “No One” definitely gave “The Voice” fans nostalgia and had audience members singing along.

        With his long beard, cowboy hat and guitar, Sundance Head was able to captivate with his voice and soul.

        Second to open was Season 2 contestant Raelynn, who came on stage in all of her glittering glory with her shimmery dress, tights and voice.

        Raelynn has the potential of a country pop princess in the making with her wholesome Texas roots, her blonde girl-next-door persona and her twangy, Southern voice. Her songs “WildHorse” and “Love Triangle” really showcased the depth of her voice.

        Blake Shelton opened his set with “Neon Light” and had the entire crowd on their feet, which is how most of them remained for the rest of the night.

        The countryman had the ability to entertain a crowd in a way that did not need to involve choreography, backup dancers or costume changes. His ability to entertain and engross his audience was by being himself.

        Shelton was able to create a familiarity and atmosphere that made an audience of tens of thousands seem intimate. He sang to his audience with heartfelt emotions and they returned it wholeheartedly.

        He sang songs, old and new, and the crowd followed every note. He invoked a hospitable atmosphere where people were comfortable to get to know their neighbors in the seat next to them.

People were drinking merrily with their arms around each other, singing their hearts out to “Hillbilly Bone” and “Some Beach.” Shelton sang with so much emotion in “Who Are You When I’m Not Looking” and “Every Time I Hear That Song” that couples around the arena slow danced.    

        As the two hour show came to a rest, Shelton brought his former pupils and opening acts onto the stage to help him end the night with “Boys ‘Round Here.” As he thanked the crowd and the lights grew dim, the audience stomped, cheered and chanted for “one more, one more.”

        The stage lights brightened once more as the band began to play the familiar melody of “Footloose,” and Shelton came sauntering up the stage once more. And to truly end the night, he gave the crowd one last ballad, “God Gave Me You,” as a final thank you to his fans for the evening.