"I took my big ass all the way out here to Hollywood for two reasons: to play country music and to drink!"
That is how Blake Shelton welcomes a crowd in Hollywood, California.
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The Voice coach may spend a solid chunk of his year on the Universal lot in Los Angeles filming the hit NBC reality competition series, but Shelton worked overtime on Saturday night to remind the L.A. audience of his country roots.
Turns out, they didn't need much of a reminder. The cowboy boot-wearing crowd sang along through "Nobody but Me," "Ol' Red" and "Austin" with equal enthusiasm to "Neon Light," "Sure Be Cool If You Did" and "Honey Bee." And whether or not some fans had, in truth, been following Shelton's career since the early 2000s, there wasn't a single person in the sold-out venue that didn't crack a smile when he placed a cowboy hat and wig on his head to "better connect" with his old material.
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Shelton fired through feel-good anthems, punctuated by his easy charm and wit. (Shelton alternated between self-deprecating humor, teasing audience members for what he deemed a surprising level of "drunken redneck," chastising one concert-goer in particular for getting too hands-y with his fiancee during "Ol' Red," and calling fellow The Voice coach Adam Levine "a douchebag" -- he followed up: "I hope you're YouTubing this. I want him to see that.")
But it wasn't all fun and games. Shelton got serious about midway through his two-hour set, sitting down to perform what he said was one of the most important songs in his life. The crowd fell near-silent as Shelton gave the back story of "Over," which features on his wife Miranda Lambert's 2011 album Four the Record. The couple wrote the song together for Shelton's late brother, and the 38-year-old says he's "damn proud of the song," but that it took him a while to be able to play it live. He also noted: "Please don't compare my version to Miranda's, because it sucks compared to hers."
Suck, it did not.
"I need a drink after that," he cracked.
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And drink, he did. Shelton raised a glass more than a handful of times during his performance (they don't call it "Ten Times Crazier" for nothing). Below, see seven times that Shelton took a swig, gave a toast or demanded more booze throughout the show.
1. "I took my big ass all the way out here to Hollywood for two reasons: to play country music and to drink!" In fact, Shelton combined the two with several of his alcohol-themed songs, "All About Tonight," "The More I Drink" and "Neon Light."
2. "Let me tell y'all something. I'm just being honest. When I get nervous, I tend to drink... Just get over it!" He may be a seasoned performer, but Shelton admitted to be exceptionally nervous for his first headlining stint at the iconic venue.
3. "I did not expect this level of drunken redneck... y'all are acting like a bunch of damn hillbillies." Shelton, pleasantly surprised that the crowd could relate to his "Hillbilly Bone."
4. "I'd like to make a toast to country music, everyone!" Raising his black cup to the sky after a rousing sing-a-long of "Neon Light."
5. "I hope to God y'all are having as much fun as me... Please, bring me a drink somebody back in the authority area. For the love of God!" Life tip: Always keep a cold glass within arm's reach.
6. "If I don't get a drink here in a moment, I'm going to throw a full-on, diva country fit." Did the stage managers not realize who was playing tonight, or what?
7. With tears in his eyes, Shelton closed out his set. "I have been coming to this town since 2001, hoping and praying I would play here. I'll never forget this for the rest of my life." And to that, we all raised a glass.
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