[From The Pueblo Chieftain]
Although Travis Tritt never donned the customary cowboy hat and always wore his hair rock-star long, his heart remained true to “honest-to-God country music.”
Friday at the Budweiser Rodeo Arena, 5,000 fans got a hearty helping of that along with some of the boot-scootin,’ hell-raisin’ music that got Tritt pegged — much to his pleasure — as a Nashville rebel.
The Georgia-born, platinum-selling artist ushered in the 2016 Colorado State Fair with a bang, a hoot and a holler. While Tritt’s hair is considerably shorter these days, at 53 he is as svelte, youthful and energetic as ever.
Tritt’s setlist was a nod to his versatility as an artist. Whether ballads from a barstool, straight-ahead country swing or the classics that came to define his career, Tritt remains a man for all musical seasons.
Appropriately, the show got rolling with “Put Some Drive in Your Country” and “High Time for Gettin’ Down,” with “a song for all my drinkers,” the honky tonky “Ten Feet Tall and Bulletproof,” and “The Whiskey Ain’t Workin,” not far behind.
After a few slower-paced numbers and a stellar take on the Eagles’ “Take It Easy,” Tritt hit the barstool, acoustic guitar in hand, for a stripped down mini-set that included “Tell Me I Was Dreaming,” “Country State of Mind,” “Outlaws Like Us” — dedicated to Tritt’s heroes with names like Jennings, Haggard, Jones and Cash — and the tender ballad “Anymore.”
Tritt later paid further tribute to Waylon Jennings with a cover of “I’ve Always Been Crazy,” with the spoken coda, “I love you Waylon and miss you every day of my life, Hoss.”
After a rollicking version of “Southbound Train,” fueled by fiddle and roadhouse piano, Tritt hit his stride with the one-two punch of “Here’s a Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)” and “Country Club,” two of his most beloved hits.
A couple more aces — “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive” and “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” — were pulled from the sleeve before an extended jam session allowed the five-piece band to show off its formidable skills.
But before the curtain fell, Tritt dished out some “T-R-O-U-B-L-E,” a big-selling remake of The King himself, and the lesser-known but equally pleasing “Homesick” — a cover from the underrated Atlanta Rhythm Section and obvious nod to Tritt’s Georgia roots and love of classic rock.