From the get-go Saturday, Country music superstar Trace Adkins brought his bigger than life presence to a bigger than life show as he roared out a thunderous version of his hit “Songs About Me” for one of the most exciting and anticipated concerts ever seen in southwest Arkansas.

From the get-go Saturday, Country music superstar Trace Adkins brought his bigger than life presence to a bigger than life show as he roared out a thunderous version of his hit “Songs About Me” for one of the most exciting and anticipated concerts ever seen in southwest Arkansas.
Having grown up only an hour away in Sarepta, Louisiana, Adkins was clearly in his element among a near capacity crowd in Hope’s Hempstead Hall in a 90-minute show, in which Adkins pumped out hits like “Chrome,” “Something’s Going On,” “Thanking Thing,” “Miss This,““Marry,” “Big Time,” “Papa Mama,” “Every Light,” and his first hit from 1996 “Girl in Texas.”
Hempstead Hall Director Dolly Henley said, “Trace Adkins stage set and lighting were by far the most elaborate set up we have had so far. Young people really liked all the moving lights while older folks thought it was a little too much. Trace engaged the audience for sure.”
With a large contingent from Louisiana in the crowd, Adkins spoke about growing up in Sarepta, and gave a call out to his mom, Peggy Adkins, who happens to be the current mayor of Sarepta.
“Better not speed down there; I understand the mayor has the police on a look out,” he joked.
As it turned out, an even larger contingent showed up from Texas, where an estimated 155 tickets were sold, according to Henley.  Over 1512 persons jammed Hempstead Hall to near capacity Saturday.
Henley noted on Tuesday that concert goers also arrived from places like Virginia, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Missouri, Mississippi and Kansas. Even in Arkansas, fans game from far and wide, she said.
“It was evident we had "new" customers on this show.   Some of the out of state customers were closer in miles than customers from Wynne, Sherwood, Rogers, Plumerville, North Little Rock, Jonesboro, and Benton,” Henley said.
A one-time football lineman at Louisiana Tech University, Adkins wearing a black and fitted superhero t-shirt, looked and sounded every bit like a superhero, standing 6’7” and coming in at at stout 240-pounds, according a sound man. One Hempstead Hall stage hand said prior to the concert, “I am 6’2” and he was taller than me. He is a big man.”
Not only a big man with a big sound, Adkins showed his more gentle and thoughtful side, as he slowed down the show for the reflective “Just Fishing” and “Watered Down,” his ole to getting older and wiser in life.
Showing some comedic chops, Adkins wished one pair of ladies a “Happy Birthday,” joked around about an audience sign he had trouble reading, and reached down to the front row to exchange hugs with two women, then declaring “I think they were drunk,” to an outburst of laughter.
Adkins also performed a tribute to fellow country star, now Hall-of-Famer Alan Jackson, saying “I not only sing country music, but I’m a big fan of country music, too. One of my all-time favorites is a man I’ve gotten to tour with and perform with. Now, he is a Hall-of-Famer Alan Jackson.”
Jackson was just inducted on April 5 this year.
The Adkins show in Hempstead Hall came right on the heels of another star that he worked with over the years, Ronnie Milsap, who performed the week before.  Henley said that Milsap’s show had a paid attendance of 1,284.
“Hope's economy should see a spike with several community events scheduled in the last couple of weeks,” Henley said.