Brooks & Dunn, Travis Tritt ‘Reboot’ country music in Virginia

One of the biggest country music tours stopped at Jiffy Lube Live in Bristow

Out in the country, past the city limits sign, well there’s a…large amphitheater nestled in the lush countryside of Bristow, VA. It was here, at Jiffy Lube Live, that Brooks & Dunn along with special guest Travis Tritt gave tens of thousands of fans an unforgettable evening of hard-core 90’s country on Saturday (Oct 2nd).

Tritt began his hour long set with “Put Some Drive in Your Country.” His exuberant and bouncy stage presence reached the rafters as he pumped out 11 of his biggest hits. A headliner in his own right, fans of Tritt will be happy to know that almost everything they would want to hear is in his set. Rockers “T-R-O-U-B-L-E” and “Modern Day Bonnie and Clyde” are present.

The wistful “Where Corn Don’t Grow” is played slower than previous live versions. This gives Tritt the opportunity to feel every note with his powerful vocal performance. The highlight of Tritt’s set was the nostalgic performance of “Smoke in a Bar.” This is the latest single off of his newest album, Set In Stone, and is as true to Tritt’s roots as ever.

Tritt has made headlines recently for refusing to play venues with mask and vaccine/negative COVID test requirements. He alluded to this by telling the outdoor Virginia crowd that it was great to see, “…all your beautiful, MASKLESS, faces. Live Free or Die is what I say!” The crowd seemed to agree. (Virginia has no mask mandate, though Live Nation will be requiring vaccination proof at all venues starting this month.)

After an incredibly fast set change, Brooks and Dunn took the stage for an exactly 90-minute set with 24 of their most beloved honky tonk tunes. The crowd ate up favorites including “Brand New Man,” “Play Somethin’ Country,” “Neon Moon,” and of course “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”

The duo dug deep into their catalogue in the middle of the set by playing abridged versions of a few classic ballads. “That Ain’t No Way to Go” — a song Brooks said they had not played in 25 years, received the biggest ovation of this section.

The seven-piece band played on a setup that included a large video screen and curved lighting trusses. The latter evoked Brooks & Dunn’s antler logo. The screen displayed scenery and landscapes matching the mood of each song. This tour is called the “Reboot” tour after their most recent album of remixes with country stars. However, fans can rest assured that hits are played with their classic arrangements.

Brooks was clad in his trademark white shirt and black vest. He playfully bounded about the stage with his inimitable energy. The more stoic Dunn chose a simple black tee and ball cap. The duo traded lead vocal responsibilities. Both have powerful twangs that complement each other. Their vocal blend defined an era of country music in the 90’s, and their voices are still as powerful as they were 30 years ago.

But there’s a bigger picture here. The pendulum is swinging back to Brooks & Dunn and Tritt’s era of country music — known as neo-traditional or “90’s country.” Artists who grew up in the 1990’s are more influenced by Alan Jackson than Florida Georgia Line. (And this writer says — Thank God.)

The industry is seeing this in a new crop of artists led by Luke Combs (who even honored the three that same evening across country in California) and including Tyler Booth, Jake Hoot, and Randy Houser eschewing the clubby bro-country for more honky tonk flavors. A remix of “Neon Moon” has gone viral on TikTok.

This trend is reflected in the night’s opener, Elvie Shane. Shane has had recent radio success with “My Boy” and his first label album will drop before the year’s end.

I’ve often said that country is the ultimate cross-generational genre of music. The trio of Shane, Tritt, and Brooks & Dunn offered a completely fulfilling night of 90’s country equally loved by the thousands of boomers and millennials in attendance. This tour truly serves as a much-needed “Reboot” of country music.

This write-up is part of a new series called “Reviews on the Road.” TMU is traveling to report on the return of live music across the country. We are proud to be documenting this important time in the history of entertainment.

Check out our podcast for more detailed discussions on this topic, and stay tuned for more concerts in more states. Please email matt@themusicuniverse.com with venues you think we should check out.

Our thanks to Travis Tritt’s tour management and press team for allowing us to cover the Reboot Tour.

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Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews. Email: matt@themusicuniverse.com
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