–By Marie Taylor
–Photos by Ryan Ledesma
It was a good time at Fair St. Louis on July 4th as country star Jake Owen descended on the Lou to bring his signature country songs to a packed lawn. The Fair itself provided a fun atmosphere that was perfect for families and individuals that gathered to celebrate the birth of our country.
Deciding where to go and what to do for the 4th of July is probably the most stressful part of the whole entire holiday. With the endless amount of firework displays and fun activities going on all over the place, deciding where to spend your time can sometimes seem overwhelming. This was my first year celebrating the 4th at Fair St. Louis, but after attending the festivities and enjoying the music, I can say it won’t be my last.
Although I didn’t make it to the Fair until mid-afternoon, I managed to catch of the songs from Dan + Shay, a country music duo that have been compared to the likes of Rascal Flatts. Even though the crowd was still getting settled in, the duo managed to get the crowd going and singing along to their own songs and a few covers of famous pop songs. Not being familiar with this group or their music, I was happily surprised to find their live show energizing and their on-stage presence very charismatic and warm. Believe me, pumping up a crowd thatâ€™s been out in the sun all day and overheating is no easy feat, but these musicians really gave their all in the performance.
A special moment for the day was when members of the United States Army and their family members were honored in a small tribute prior to Dan + Shay. Servicemen and women, along with chosen family members, moved throughout the crowd in front of the stage as audience members clapped or acknowledged these individuals. Personally, it was a reminder that not everyone was able to celebrate the anniversary of our birth in a fun or lighthearted way. There are still service members stationed across the globe that make sacrifices every day because of love for their country.
The main event of the night (and final event for the Fair) was hearing country music star Jake Owen perform with his band. Part of the fun of going to concerts is watching the people and seeing the different personality types come out to support their favorite artists. Considering the various influences of Jake Owen: reggae, pop, country, southern rock, I was looking forward to seeing his audience at the Fair. I was not disappointed. There were young families, drunk college kids, hipsters, people from the suburbs, people from the city, people from everywhere. All they seemed to have in common was Jake Owen and a penchant for cowboy boots (good gravy were there cowboy boots).
What is great about an artist like Jake Owen is that he toes the line between different genres and isn’t afraid to be part of a new wave of country. A Florida native, Owen takes that “salt life” vibe and mixes it with pop country to form a laid back, party anthem sound. Although he sounds more Nashville, his music often reminds me of music legend Jimmy Buffet. No matter what you attribute it to, his music was the perfect choice for a fun and lighthearted evening on July 4th. Owen and his band played with high energy the entire performance, and I really enjoyed the fact that he allowed his musicians to share the spotlight with him front and center. My favorite song from his performance was surprisingly not one of his hits, it was his cover of the Johnny Cash song “Ring of Fire”. I’d never considered how close his voice is to that of legendary Cash, but now that I’ve heard it I can’t stop thinking about it.
Fair St. Louis closed with a bang, and I’m not just talking about the large number of fireworks that went off at the end of the night. The day performances and tributes were well done and enjoyable, and I loved getting a chance to see country star Jake Owen in action. It’s wonderful to get a chance to experience all of these things at once, so if you’re looking for something to do next 4th of July, consider checking out Fair St. Louis. Until next time, party on dudes!
Jake Owen set list:
Real Life/Ring of Fire
If He Ain’t Gonna Love You
Tall Glass of Something
Alone With You
8 Second Ride
Days of Gold
Anywhere With You
The One That Got Away
Barefoot Blue Jean Night
American Country Love Song