Alan Jackson concert draws 10,000 to Fort Sill
July 5, 2012
Alan Jackson's music got peoples' feet moving hours before he even started playing. Eager fans lined up early June 30 and 10,000 people wasted no time occupying the once empty Polo Field.
The trio Gloriana kicked off the first live sounds from the stage and were followed by country star Easton Corbin.
"Easton Corbin is a hotty. I'm here to see him as well. I couldn't decide between the shirts up there. I was like Alan Jackson, Easton Corbin can we just mix them up and put them both on a shirt?" said Melissa Crotty, a concert-goer.
Crotty said she brought her mother along, and they were having a nice mother-daughter evening to the sweet country tunes. Crotty said she missed Jackson in concert because of a deployment once, but she was not going to miss him a second time and was more than excited to be there.
She was not alone as Soldiers from Basic Combat Training were also enjoying the music and were able to let their hair down (not literally, it was still within regulations.)
"I'm escorting the basic training Soldiers so they have an opportunity to enjoy this concert for the Fourth of July holiday," said Drill Sergeant (Staff Sgt.) John Robinson, 1st Battalion, 40th Field Artillery. "They're having a great time. They get a chance to get away from the drill sergeants, get something to eat, to drink and have just a little bit of down time."
Robinson parked himself under the Polo Field reviewing stand just to have a better vantage point of his Soldiers, but he said having quiet time to himself was also nice.
While the Soldiers listened to the music from the field, Robinson said they would face the abrupt reality they were still in training as soon as they marched off it and hit the pavement, then they would receive a different kind of music from the drill sergeants.
"[They] won't be punished, it's more of a reward. They get soda and candy so we get to reward them with physical exercise,"said Robinson. "Our Soldiers have a PT test on Monday so we've told them what they do now is going to impact their performance Monday."
Meanwhile, the newest Army additions were grouped in patches among the 10-gallon cowboy hats that accented the field.
As Corbin thanked the crowd, the audience answered back by packing in tighter for the main event. Jackson walked out and the cheers greeted him.
Nick Snider along with girlfriend, Ashley Mulligan, were among those cheering.
She said they have been doing so at Fort Sill Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation concerts for years.
"'Small Town Southern Man' is my favorite," said Snider. "I've liked Alan Jackson since I was a little boy."
The couple had been preparing for the excitement of the concert by playing Jackson's songs on an iPod.
"I've been a fan for many years," said Crotty as she added that every song of his was her favorite.
Crotty said although listening to the country legend via radio is what brought her to Polo Field, seeing him live was a much more engaging.
"Right now he's within reach, I can see him. He puts his heart into it, I can't wait to hear him sing," said Crotty.
Fans did not look disappointed as Jackson tossed out soulful country notes as well as guitar picks and even signed shirts when the crowd provided them.
The concert ended, and a medley of fireworks played out the night as part of the Independence Day celebration.