For the third year in a row, Country Throwdown stampedes into wide-open outdoor venues with a dream team of current and future country-music superstars. With 7 million records sold and a stable of top-10 hits, rowdy honky-tonk wrangler Gary Allan headlines the festival with raucous energy. Firing off hits such as “Tough Little Boys” and “Get Off the Pain,” Allan allures with outlaw swagger and a voice as deep and rugged as Sam Elliott’s wallet. Rodney Atkins, known for monster-truck hits such as “Watching You” and “Cleaning This Gun,” performs with an everyguy grin that could charm the britches off a clothesline.
Before Bell Biv DeVoe warned that girl was “Poison,” Johnny Gill “Just Got Paid,” Ralph Tresvant boasted his “Sensitivity,” and Bobby Brown declared it was “My Prerogative,” all six new jack swingers strutted across stages as teen sensation New Edition. Fully reunited and dressed to the nines, the soulful sextet packs the stage with decades of accumulated Top 10 classics and smooth dance moves. The nearly two-hour set spans the group’s entire career, from falsetto-laden classics such as “Candy Girl” and “Cool It Now” to later hits such as “If It Isn’t Love,” all mixed with stacks of tracks from their successful solo careers. This tour finds them putting on a show that's "loose, fast-paced, high-spirited, loaded with hits and personality, and thoroughly entertaining," according to the Newark Star-Ledger review of a recent concert, bringing to life a catalog of songs that sticks to ears like honeycomb earmuffs.