April 24, 2024

New Fury Media

Music. Gaming. Nostalgia. Culture.

Jason Michael Carroll gives hockey fans a post game concert after Wheeling Nailers game

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By Dave Parsons

 

It happens in baseball every summer, when a team brings in a music act for a post- game concert.  But, it’s impressive when a hockey team that is the AA affiliate of the Pittsburgh Penguins, brings a veteran act out of Nashville, for their ‘country night’ promotion. 

That is exactly what the Wheeling (WV) Nailers did on February 24, 2024 in bringing Jason Michael Carroll for the post game concert.  Carroll had several Top 40 hits on the country charts in the mid 2000’s and his shows have kept him on the road ever since.  Still, the pairing is unique to say the least, and to get both events for a ticket as cheap as $11 was a steal.

First, if you have never been to a pro hockey game, and don’t like the looks of the price of NHL games, the ECHL AA level is still a good quality of hockey.  In Wheeling at least, you can stand right at the glass on ice level if you want to which literally makes you a part of the game.  The arenas are usually smaller too, making the worst seat in the house, as good as a second-tier seat in an NHL arena. If you really don’t understand the game, take your phone and ear buds and listen to the game on the radio.  In Wheeling, the play-by-play guy, DJ Abisalih, is a treat to listen to.  His knowledge of the game is top notch, and his excitement calling the game gives you an entire new dimension watching it.  

For the record, there was at least 1 fight each period, some good hits and goal tending and when the final horn sounded 2:40 minutes after it started it, Wheeling won the game 2-1.  The ice crew started dragging speakers out on the ice while the post-game activities went on behind them. A flatbed wrecker from a sponsoring tow service had the band on the flatbed and the lights went out exactly 10 minutes after the game ended.  An unreal change over time in any venue these days.

Carroll started the set with the first three songs from his debut album, starting with title track “Waitin In The Country”, followed by “I Can Sleep When I Am Dead” and his first hit, the tear-jerker “Alyssa Lies”.  I wondered if he would attempt the last one in this setting, being he was at center ice, a decent distance from the crowd, and given the subject matter of the song.  He proved me wrong, as the crowd was singing every word of the chorus back to him. 

The other surprising thing was Carroll seemed to be doing his theater setlist, complete with stories between the songs.  I’ve seen Carroll at festivals, theaters and bar dates, and he is usually in the audience at some point of the show, talking and singing to them.  Because of the constraints of the venue and lighting, first the denim dress shirt came off, and then Carroll came off the flat bed stage several times, onto the solid ice rink service, and he seemed to be looking for a way to get up into the stands.

The show rolled on with hits like “Where I’m From”, “Meet Me In The Barn” and “Pass It All Around”.  He decided to do one cover song, after some fans had requested it, and tore into a cover of Prince’s “Purple Rain”.  His vocals and the top touring band backing him made it a highlight of the show.  One of the fans that had request it was standing beside me, and commented how well he can go from country to rock music in one song.

The other thing that had occurred to me watching him was his mic stand was scarf covered ala Steven Tyler.  With his long flowing hair, and without the cowboy hat, the comparison in looks and stage moves is there from a distance.

Citing the last song of the set, Carroll told the story of meeting his wife, losing her and the night that he saw her again 8 years later.  The story ended in another hit of his “Living Our Love Song.”  

As the song ended, Carroll asked if he might do one more, and the “Country Night” was brought to a close with a sing along version of “Country Roads”.  Used as a theme song for the West Virginia Mountaineers victory song after games, the Nailers have adopted it as well this season, and everyone in the 1,500 or so in attendance, sang every word.  

As the game started at 7, and the concert ended at nearly 11PM, it was a long evening for everyone.  Yet, as Jason Michael Carroll was walking off the ice, he said hello to a few workers and turned around and watched the crowd filing out.  He noticed some kids by the ice wanting a picture and autographs and walked across the ice to honor their requests. 

A few other folks started down to the impromptu meet and greet and he signed everything put in front of him, and smiled for every picture. There were no merch sales, only two security guards, (one was doing double duty taking pictures with folks’ cell phones), and everyone took their turn.  Carroll asked everyone’s names and talked to them one on one like they were the only person in his world, at that moment.  Why every artist at this stage in a career does not do it is beyond me, but I think it is a very telling reason why Jason Michael Carroll is still on the road. 

 

Photo Gallery : Jason Michael Carroll – WesBanco Arena (02.24.2024)

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