NEWS-Wish you were {t}here- Brad Paisley, John Paul Jones Arena, September 15, 2006

About halfway through his first set, Brad Paisley broke into his ode to the afterlife, "When I Get Where I'm Going," as images of departed legends like Hank Williams, Johnny Cash, Waylon Jennings, and Buck Owens flashed on the big screen behind him. Such a move would have been presumptuous from a lesser talent, but for nearly two hours Friday night, Paisley proved he has the songwriting talent, guitar chops, and charisma to make us believe he could one day be part of that country music pantheon.

From the opening riff of "Celebrity" to the closing chord of the Dire Straits cover "Walk of Life," Paisley turned the still-gleaming John Paul Jones Arena into a down 'n dirty honky-tonk with his decidedly twangy tune-smithing. The current country item du jour proved as adept at up-tempo barn-burners ("Mud on the Tires," "Time Warp," "Me Neither") as at chill-inducing ballads ("Whiskey Lullaby," "Little Moments") and barroom singalongs ("Alcohol," "I'm Gonna Miss Her (The Fishin' Song)"). 

A cover of Don Henley's "Boys of Summer" and the filming of Paisley's new video for "She's Everything," the fourth single from his hit album, Time Well Wasted, kept the crowd charged up. 

When the Country Music Association recently revealed this year's nominees, Paisley tied with Brooks & Dunn for the most– six– including one for the prestigious "Entertainer of the Year." No telling how many categories he'll win in November, but it's safe to say he won himself a passel of fans Friday night.

And judging from the fun he seemed to have onstage, that might mean more to him than any piece of hardware.