Get breaking news alerts via email

Click here to manage your alerts
(Rick Egan | The Salt Lake Tribune) Tim McGraw performs at USANA, Friday, June 14, 2013.
Review: Minus pretense, Tim McGraw an evolving, revolving act
First Published Jun 15 2013 10:24 am • Last Updated Aug 05 2014 11:09 am

If Tim McGraw ever needs a hip replacement, he’ll have the music to fall back on.

With substance vastly overpowering flash, the country legend was in top form Friday night at USANA Amphitheatre, unleashing a set of hits spanning 20 years. And while some of the loudest cheers of the night came when McGraw pulled off a brown leather jacket to reveal chiseled upper arms, and each time he sent his large gold belt buckle into orbit with smooth, metronomic gyrations, McGraw should be allowed those teasing indulgences. Beyond moves usually reserved for pole dancing workouts, it was two hours with few frills.

At a glance

Tim McGraw at USANA

Country singer Tim McGraw brought his “Two Lanes of Freedom” tour to Utah. Brantley Gilbert and Love and Theft opened the show.

When » Friday, June 14

Where » USANA Amphitheatre, 5125 S. 6400 West, West Valley City

Join the Discussion
Post a Comment

As country shows become pyrotechnics blowouts with a live soundtrack, McGraw has gone the other way. He had a band, a guitar (sometimes), a four-story video screen and whole lot of hits.

McGraw has been at this a long time. He turned 46 last month and he’s either learned that he doesn’t need to cover anything up - seriously, we’re moving on from his physique now - with distracting tricks or he quit giving a damn. With his voice just vulnerable enough on the high notes, and his smile with its familiar, right-of-center tilt McGraw was appropriately charming and flirtatious with an adoring audience.

McGraw played nearly every hit, opening with "Where the Green Grass Grows" and powering through "Down on the Farm," "How Bad Do You Want It?," and "Everywhere" before even daring to dip into his newest stuff, from "Two Lanes of Freedom," his 12th studio album released in February.

His No. 1-hit duet, "Highway Don’t Care," with Taylor Swift was awkward with McGraw singing live, and Swift only present through the magic of HD. She, of course, sounded better with studio rendering, but the power of the song, appropriately wistful and lovely, took care of any imperfections.

And while new songs such as "Mexicoma" - money lyric: "You pulled the plug on what I thought was love, but I got just enough juice to forget about you and squeeze this lime" - are far from McGraw’s top hits, alongside his classics, you’re willing to go along for the ride.

The best thing about McGraw, live or through speakers, is the sincerity of the product. He’s not jingoistic, he doesn’t overutilize beer, coonhounds and pickup trucks to pander to the country crowd - although "Truck Yeah" is so cheekily, obnoxiously, mainstream that it was tough not to sing along by the time McGraw sang the chorus for the final time, closing the set and ending the night.


story continues below
story continues below

Copyright 2014 The Salt Lake Tribune. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Top Reader Comments Read All Comments Post a Comment
Click here to read all comments   Click here to post a comment

About Reader Comments

Reader comments on sltrib.com are the opinions of the writer, not The Salt Lake Tribune. We will delete comments containing obscenities, personal attacks and inappropriate or offensive remarks. Flagrant or repeat violators will be banned. If you see an objectionable comment, please alert us by clicking the arrow on the upper right side of the comment and selecting "Flag comment as inappropriate". If you've recently registered with Disqus or aren't seeing your comments immediately, you may need to verify your email address. To do so, visit disqus.com/account.
See more about comments here.
Staying Connected
Contests and Promotions
  • Search Obituaries
  • Place an Obituary

  • Search Cars
  • Search Homes
  • Search Jobs
  • Search Marketplace
  • Search Legal Notices

  • Other Services
  • Advertise With Us
  • Subscribe to the Newspaper
  • Access your e-Edition
  • Frequently Asked Questions
  • Contact a newsroom staff member
  • Access the Trib Archives
  • Privacy Policy
  • Missing your paper? Need to place your paper on vacation hold? For this and any other subscription related needs, click here or call 801.204.6100.