Lonestar right at home in Rockford

Lonestar’s current No. 1 single, “My Front Porch Looking In,” set the theme for the group’s March 19 performance at the Coronado Theatre.

The popular country band was backed by an elaborate front porch facade that had a white fence, chairs, a “yard” with plants and a sign that read 2004 Lonestar Lane. Even a computer-generated moon shined above them. To some this may seem a bit silly, but it established the relaxed, down-home atmosphere the group wanted to create. Lonestar also exuded charm and enthusiasm that seemed to fit the setting.

After selling more than 9 million albums and producing nine No. 1 hits, Lonestar certainly had more than enough material to choose from. The group played many tracks off its recent collection, From There To Here: The Greatest Hits, including “What About Now,” “Not A Day Goes By,” “No News” and the previously unreleased “Walking In Memphis.” The band also performed a variety of cover songs to keep the audience’s interest.

The guys played a medley of five Alabama numbers, “Margaritaville,” by Jimmy Buffett and a hilarious bluegrass version of “Play That Funky Music White Boy.” They also enlisted the help of two Billy Joel fans to sing “Piano Man.”

Additionally, the group paid homage to Rockford’s very own Cheap Trick by performing a spontaneous cover of “I Want You To Want Me,” which was “totally unrehearsed,” according to lead vocalist Richie McDonald.

Lonestar’s energy and friendly nature appealed to its fans and cultivated a more intimate atmosphere. The talkative McDonald shared stories of life on the road, the inspiration behind several songs and the band’s admiration of the troops serving overseas. He also joked that two of the band’s members, who donned leather jackets and sunglasses, bore a striking resemblance to Starsky and Hutch. McDonald was impressed with the Coronado Theatre as well. “This is probably the prettiest theater we’ve played by far,” he said while gazing at the architecture.

When the group returned for an encore, Illinois Lt. Gov. Pat Quinn presented the members with a plaque and Illinois flag honoring them for their support of the men and women in the armed forces. They closed the show with “Amazed,” a popular crossover hit that proved to be a crowd favorite.

Rising star Jimmy Wayne opened for Lonestar. Wayne gained immediate success when his self-titled debut album was released last year. He played several emotionally charged songs, including “Stay Gone” and “I Love You This Much,” during his 40-minute set. He also told heart-wrenching stories from his troubled childhood that inspired his music.

Some might view this as a gimmick, but background information was necessary to explain the message of his songs. He also lightened the mood by joking with the crowd and laughing when a cell phone began ringing as he was about to start a song. With such an impressive performance, Wayne is sure to soon be headlining his own concerts.

Lonestar and Jimmy Wayne both gave first-rate shows that would appeal to not just country, but any genre of fans.

Enjoy The Rock River Times? Help spread the word!