By John Dundon

Long Island showed its southern side when 15,000 cheering fans packed Nikon at Jones Beach Theater to see Nashville-based country rocker Jason Aldean, who played the seaside amphitheater on June 17.

Opening acts on his Six String Circus Tour included A Thousand Horses, a country band also from Nashville, and Thomas Rhett, an up-and-coming vocalist who’s the son of former country star Rhett Akins. Rhett performed some his more popular songs including “Beer with Jesus” and “Die a Happy Man.” After a lengthy intermission, on came the man everyone was there to see.

“We just wanted to get right into it. Sorry for making y’all wait so long!” Aldean said as the crowd roared. “I’m not gonna do a lot of talkin’, we’ve got a lot of music left to play.”

Aldean’s crew made their way to the stage around 9:20 p.m. and got right into it with “Just Gettin’ Started” off his most recent album, Old Boots, New Dirt. From there, Aldean kept the country-rock theme going with “Gonna Know We Were Here,” another electric guitar centric hit.

Make no mistake about it, Aldean is a country superstar, but his performance at Jones Beach had a Rock ‘n’ Roll feel to it. It featured plenty of heavy cords from guitarists Kurt Allison and Jack Sizemore, who at some points stole the show.

The backdrop featured a series of diamond-shaped screens flashing graphics, colors, crowd shots and live video from on stage. The lighting colors brilliantly flashed different shades depending on the mood created by Aldean and his road band.

The guitarists teamed up for an electric guitar duet that got the crowd the loudest it had been all night. But Aldean went light at times, too. For the die-hard fans, he also played older, twangier songs from the band’s infancy.

Or, as he put it: “The stuff we played in front of 25 people at a bar.” His fan base has certainly grown since he dropped his self-titled debut album a decade ago.

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