The first time I saw the Eli Young Band perform was a few weeks ago. They were the featured act in the AXE Salute Our Troops Pre-Race Show prior to the AAA Texas 500 NASCAR race at Texas Motor Speedway. I thought they put on a good show at the huge racetrack in Fort Worth and had told a few of my buddies we needed to go see them the next time they played in DFW.
It turned out the 'next time' was the Thanksgiving holiday weekend with two shows at Billy Bob's Texas in the Stockyards. The Eli Young Band's first show was on Thanksgiving Eve and drew close to 4,000 fans.
We attended the sold-out Friday night performance that was the best scene I have come across at Billy Bob's in a long time. After taking the longer route down University Dr. in hopes of avoiding the massive traffic in downtown for the Parade of Lights, we encountered a huge crowd of our own as the will-call line was several hundred deep. With the holiday spirit alive and well, fans bringing a canned food item were entered in a drawing for a seat upgrade and the opportunity to meet the band.
The 6,000 fans that filled the World's Largest Honky Tonk to capacity were treated to a fun evening that began around 10:40 pm and lasted more than two hours. The popular quartet -- vocalist Mike Eli, guitarist James Young, bassist Jon Jones and drummer Chris Thompson -- performed favorites including When it Rains, Always the Love Songs, Skeletons, That's the Way and Say Goodnight. The cover of Tom Petty's American Girl got the crowd going early and No. 1 hits Even if it Breaks Your Heart and Crazy Girl were highlights of the night.
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