by Julian Spivey
Country music hitmaker Trace Adkins was brought in by the Fishing League Worldwide (FLW) professional fishing league to pump up the fans on Sunday, August 11 at the Bank OZK Area in Hot Springs, Ark. before the final weigh-in determining the champion of the FLW Cup giving a free concert to the packed arena of fishing fanatics.
Adkins kicked off the short 45 minute set at 4 p.m. before the final weigh-in began at 5 p.m. and eventually crowned two-time FLW Angler of the Year Bryan Thrift the more than $300,000 champion.
Adkins began his show with “(This Ain’t) No Thinkin’ Thing,” his first career No. 1 hit from 1997, and got the crowd hooked from the git go.
Being a short 45-minute show Adkins had to cull down his usual setlist quite a bit, but still gave the crowd a run through many of his biggest career hits. Country-rockers were the specialty on Sunday afternoon with the giant long-haired country boy with the booming bass baritone belting out hits like 2002’s top 10 “Chrome,” 2003’s top-five “Hot Mama,” 2004’s No. 2 hit “Songs About Me” and the No. 1 “Ladies Love Country Boys” from 2006.
Adkins gave the packed Hot Springs audience a laugh or two with his 2009 track “Marry for Money,” telling the crowd beforehand that if the anglers couldn’t get the big prize maybe they could at least find them a rich woman to take home.
The one song that you absolutely knew that Adkins would not pass up at a professional fishing tournament weigh-in was his 2011 top-10 hit “Just Fishin’,” the Grammy-nominated song about spending some good heart-to-heart time with a daughter. Adkins told the crowd “parents should teach their children how to fish and about Jesus and they can learn the rest on their own.” It was a heart-warming performance that more than likely had a few in attendance with teary-eyes.
My favorite performance of Adkins’ short show on Sunday afternoon was 2008’s No. 1 hit “You’re Gonna Miss This,” which is my favorite Adkins song in general. It’s another potentially tear-inducing ballad about not rushing through your life because one day you’re going to look back on it all and miss it. It’s something I believe all of us aging rapidly in this fast-paced world can feel down deep inside.
Adkins ended his show with what’s unfortunately probably become his most well-known song – the absolutely ridiculous “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk,” which topped out on the Billboard country singles chart at No. 2 in 2005. The crowd seemed to really enjoy the performance, but I’ve long held that it might be the single worst hit song in country music history and it’s no doubt now the worst song I’ve ever had to sit through live – but, hey, it was a free show.
I knew going in this would be an abbreviated show because of it being at the pro fishing event, but the short set left a lot of my favorite Adkins songs off the list. It sure would’ve been nice to hear some of his earlier hits like “Every Light in the House is On,” “There’s a Girl in Texas,” “I Left Something Turned On at Home” and “Then They Do.” These are songs, like “You’re Gonna Miss This,” that truly show Adkins is capable of being one of the best around when he’s performing stuff with a bit more substance than “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.”