When Brad Paisley comes to Cleveland, the skies open and let down treacherous rain. I have attended his concert at Blossom Music Center for the past two summers, and each show was accompanied by rain, lightening, and thunder.

As Justin Moore and Darius Rucker performed their opening acts of the H2O Country Concert Tour in perfect sunshine, boys in John Deere hats and girls in plaid shirts danced and sang along on the lawn of Blossom. Darius Rucker played several songs from his new album, and quite a few from his old days in Hootie and the Blowfish. Both men sang well, and held the large crowd’s attention. Towards the end of Rucker’s set, the clouds in the distance grew dark, but we held onto the hope that the imminent storm would bypass us.

Our hope was not met with reality; Brad Paisley opened his concert with his newest single, “Water,” and as the last chord was strummed, the rain began. My cowboy hat kept the rain out of my eyes, but my face was the only part of me that stayed dry. About halfway through Paisley’s set, we ran to the restroom to take a quick break from the storm, and one girl walked in and exclaimed, “I feel like I’m at a water park!” The men around us found a solution to the problem of wet clothes – they took off their T-shirts and jeans to go mudsliding on the hill. My group of friends moved to different places on the lawn four times to stay out of their way.

Paisley continued with his hit songs, and his radio-quality live voice kept the audience singing and cheering in the rain. Each time thunder clapped or lightening struck, the crowd would roar, as though the storm was fueling their energy. Between each song came a long interlude of upbeat guitar played by Paisley and lots of country hoedown dancing in the audience. Couples held each other close during the love songs, “She’s Everything” and “Then.” To close the concert, Paisley played his anthem, “Alcohol,” and the fans held up their beer cans as they sang along.

Our casualties of the night included two soaking wet tickets, one crushed cowboy hat, one cell phone, two extremely muddy jean skirts, three flip-flops, and I now seem to be developing a cold. Brad Paisley said it best while onstage: “They didn’t call this the H2O Tour for nothing!”

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