Alan Jackson Performs Iconic Show at Famed Rupp Arena EXCLUSIVE Photo Gallery & Review

Country music icon Alan Jackson brought his “Last Call: One More for the Road 2022 Tour” to the world-famous Rupp Arena Friday night (September 9th) for a night of feel-good melodies. Any tour of Alan’s is country music done the right way; simply put, the only way Alan knows how. 

Fans flocked to the front entrance of the home of the Kentucky Wildcats as the doors opened. A Friday night in Lexington with fantastic country music is nothing short of an epic party. Patrons wore their best pearl snaps and broke out the cowboy hats for this fitting occasion to hang up the workweek boots and unwind. The turnout was, I’m sure, ever close to record-setting as there wasn’t an empty seat in the venue from the floor to the rafters. Onlookers stormed to the general admission pit before the stage, spanning left to right and as far back as they could.

Alan Jackson at Rupp Arena

The arena went dark as the led screen recapped photos and videos of Alan Jackson’s journey throughout his career. An electrifying cinematic introduction played, showcasing legends passing the torch, including Loretto Lynn, Hank Williams Jr., George Jones, and more as the lights came up, the Strayhorn’s (Alan’s band) were all in place and rounding the right side of the stage came the legend himself. 

“Gone Country” kicked the night off, setting the mood for a honky tonk party followed by the fun lovin’ “I Don’t Even Know Your Name.” A few songs later, Alan slowed it down for a classic, “Blues Man.” The lights were shades of blue and green as I looked around, and fans were swaying alongside each other, belting each lyric back at Alan. During the instrumental, Alan walked across the stage, looking into each section as if he was looking at every fan he could see from his position. He waved and smiled, taking it all in as the massive crowd cheered back “ALAN,” “ALAN,” and the, relatively constant “I LOVE YOU ALAN.” 

“Who’s Cheating Who” got the audience back to being a rowdy party to fuel through the night. The lights went dim as the stagehands made the proper arrangements to set the mood for what was to come next. At this point, for me, the night could have been over. I was overly satisfied with how amazing the show had been up to this point; Alan is a true performer, and it showed through every song that Alan and the band played. As the lights came up, Alan sat before the thousands of adoring fans, who were screaming so loud it was deafening. 

Alan Jackson at Rupp Arena

Alan took a moment to talk about his journey and how he has performed at Rupp Arena (home of the Kentucky Wildcats) ten times now. I caught his last stop at Rupp Arena four years ago, and it was like no show I’ve ever experienced. Enjoying the show from the GA pit, and hanging out in the Aj’s Bar Lounge before the show, was something I will never forget. 

“I’ve had an amazing life. Hard to believe a small-town Georgia guy moved to Nashville. It’s the American dream!” Alan continued, “Ya’ll buying my records, I appreciate it, I really do.”

“Older I Get” – Off Alan’s latest album, “Where Did You Go,” Is a profoundly deep song that resonates in my heart, so when Alan started the song, I felt the memories that have made up my own life flash in my mind, giving me a satisfying emotion the whole song through. 

When I looked around, handwritten signs filled the air; Alan read some of them off “Grandma’s gone country” and many more. Leading into “Drive,” Alan tells a brief story about how he wanted to write a song for his late father but didn’t want it to be some sad song. Growing up, all Alan wanted to do was drive something, and his dad taught him that. The crowd singing along to this song gave Alan a sense of pride, which I could see through his smiling face and hand-waving gestures. It was as if he had twenty thousand backup singers carrying the tune and lyrics along with him.

“Drive,” concluded as the lights went down yet again. This time only a few spotlights cast light on the stage, no flashy lights or led screens, as the band strummed the introduction of “Where Were You.” A proud moment of solitude came through the arena as we held our phones up, lights shining throughout, as everyone sang along, remembering that tragic day that made the world feel like it had stopped. I was in elementary school on 9/11, but I remember that day and how the events shook the adults around me to their core. They stayed strong for the kids like myself that didn’t understand the tragedy that took place in our beautiful country. As the song started to come to a close, two American flags were unveiled on both sides of the stage; emerging on the main screen was the iconic photo of the firefighters hoisting up the American flag amid the rubble on that tragic day. Everyone standing in unison clapped and began chanting: “USA! USA! USA!” Alan turned to the big screen, put his hand over his heart, and applauded the heroes displayed before us. 

“Don’t Rock the Jukebox” was played next as a fun, upbeat tune that proved to be a boot-stomping good time! Fans danced up and down the aisles; their faces lit up by the neon lights shining from the stage. As one of the most iconic songs in all of the country music genre, you cannot hear “Don’t Rock the Jukebox” without singing and dancing along. 

An extended piano instrumental started to play and gave fans a moment to realize what would come next. As an older couple next to me began to slow dance, memories flooded the hearts and minds of several concertgoers. “Remember When” – was my late grandparents’ love song. This song told the story of their lives: from how they started to their last days. They were the example of true love, and this song carries a profound place in my heart for seeing the love shared between the two. Alan was their favorite artist of all time, and now starting the journey of life and kids myself, I find the same realness in the words Alan sings in this piece. 

Hit after hit, Alan kept rolling without skipping a beat. It was a night that created a lasting memory for myself and all others in attendance—getting to see the last great country music artist. He has been an innovator and influenced the world through his music, paving the way for other young artists to shine. Alan knows how to give the fans what they want: an experience that cannot be matched, marking a beautiful end to a well-lived music career.

Alan Jackson

Photos and review by: Ryan Pike of Music Matters Magazine

Review Editor: Kayti Pike of Music Matters Magazine

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