Blake Shelton says surprise concert in Lee 'is about celebrating' country music

Blake Shelton on stage at Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

Maryann Batlle

Blake Shelton on stage at Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral on Saturday, March 9, 2013.

— The Face of “The Voice” television show — country music star Blake Shelton — surprised Southwest Florida on Saturday night with a free concert in Lee County.

“This is the biggest thing, not only for Dixie Roadhouse but for the city,” Alan Lessard, manager of the Dixie Roadhouse venue in Cape Coral, said prior to the hastily scheduled concert. “We are excited for the big show.”

Shelton, winner of the Country Music Association’s 2012 Entertainer and Male Vocalist of the Year awards and nominated for both again in 2013, is known for hits such as “Over You” and “Honey Bee.” He’s been the winning coach two of the three years on the NBC reality show “The Voice.”

Admission was limited to 800 in the venue, which has a capacity of about 1,000 people, but Lessard expected three times more people to try to show up.

Shelton’s concert for his fans, kept secret until Saturday morning and posted on Facebook, was scheduled less than a week before his country star wife, Miranda Lambert, will be in Southwest Florida. Lambert, who has a concert scheduled at Germain Arena in Estero on Friday, was in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday night, according to her concert schedule.

Shelton took the stage around 8:30 p.m. in a black button-up shirt, jeans and guitar. His first song of the set was “All About Tonight.”

The concert wasn’t a form of promotion or trick, he told the cheering crowd — it’s about the country music.

“This is about celebrating,” Shelton said. “I want to see you loving this ... This is going to take a while. I hope y’all don’t have anything else to do.”

Fans started lining up around 10:30 a.m. in Cape Coral as three traveling RVs and two semi-trailer trucks parked outside the bar.

Stephanie Kirk, of Naples, was in line with her boyfriend and a friend Saturday night.

“He puts on a good show,” said Kirk, who saw Shelton at a concert in West Palm Beach.

By 7 p.m., when the doors were set to open, the entry limit of 800 was reached — and then some.

Jennifer Rae drove from Naples with her friend, Lauren Green, but were short of the cut-off to get in.

“We are super bummed,” Green said.

They said they were going to wait around to see if anything changed.

If not, “We’ll drive back to Naples,” Rae said. “I would be mad if we didn’t come. Can’t beat something that’s free.”

Julie Whidden of Naples was excited to be there.

“How often do you get to see a free concert from the entertainer of the year?” she said.

Lessard said after Neal McCoy gave his concert on Thursday at Dixie Roadhouse, his record company contacted Shelton’s about the great, “wide-room” location. He said the bar’s owner got a call Friday morning at home from either Shelton’s talent agent or record label about Shelton’s request to give a free concert for his fans.

Dixie Roadhouse staff members were told that if the information leaked out before Saturday morning, Shelton wouldn’t come.

Lessard said Shelton was planning to host a free concert in Panama City, but once the event got leaked, he canceled it.

Shelton played a mix of old country songs and his own music.

Posted earlier

The line to get into tonight’s surprise Lee County concert by country music star Blake Shelton started at the Dixie Roadhouse entrance and went down the block, around the corner, and snaked inside of the back parking lot.

Shelton, the country music recording star and celebrity TV judge on the NBC show “The Voice,” is performing a surprise previously unannounced free concert tonight in Lee County.

The country music mega-star is giving the concert tonight at Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral. He took the stage around 8:30 p.m.

By 7 p.m., when the doors were set to open, the entry limit of 800 had been reached -- and then some.

Jennifer Rae drove from Naples with her friend, Lauren Green. They were short of the cut-off to get in.

"We are super bummed," Green said.

They said they were going to wait around to see if anything changes.

If not, "We'll drive back to Naples," Rae said.

Charles Walker, a Dixie Roadhouse bouncer who is keeping the official count, said they were at 577 people at 6:36 pm.

Brian Nolan, of Cape Coral, was toward the back of the line. He said he hadn’t planned on coming.

Paul Nolan, his younger brother, got there at noon and already had a wristband to get in.

“The waiting paid off, I would say,” Brian Nolan said.

Paul Nolan said he found out about the concert on Facebook.

His fiancée is a Shelton fan so they came to see if they could get tickets and found out they had to stand in line instead. They ended up 10th and 11th in line.

Paul Nolan said they made friends with the people standing in line with them: “We met a lot of cool people.”

The small venue is intimate.

“We woulda paid,” Paul Nolan said.

Brian Nolan was number 643. He’ll get to see Shelton after all.

Posted earlier

Blake Shelton, the country music recording star and celebrity TV judge on the NBC show “The Voice,” is performing a surprise previously unannounced free concert tonight in Lee County.

The country music mega-star is giving the concert tonight at Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral.

Fans started lining up around 10:30 a.m.. Three RVs and two semi-trailer trucks are parked outside the bar.

“The event is going to be smashing,” Alan Lessard, Dixie Roadhouse manager, said today. “This is the biggest thing, not only for Dixie Roadhouse but for the city. We are excited for the big show.”

Lessard said the first 800 people will get in when the doors open at 7 p.m. Shelton is expected to take the stage at 8 p.m.

The restaurant has a capacity of 1,090 people. Lessard said they will maintain the crowd to about 1,000, yet he expects 3,000 fans.

“We will max out for sure before opening,” he said.

Admission is 21-and-over.

Lessard said after Neal McCoy gave his concert on Thursday at Dixie Roadhouse, his record company contacted Shelton’s about the great, “wide-room” venue. He said the bar’s owner got a call Friday morning at home from either Shelton’s talent agent or record label about his request to give a free concert.

Dixie Roadhouse staff members were told that if the information leaked out before Saturday morning, Shelton wouldn’t come.

Lessard said Shelton was planning to host a free concert in Panama City, but once the event got leaked, he canceled it.

Shelton’s wife, Miranda Lambert, also will be in Southwest Florida next week. Lambert has a concert scheduled at Germain Arena in Estero on Friday, March 15.

Her tour schedule has her listed as being in Kansas City, Mo., on Saturday night.

Posted earlier

Blake Shelton, the country music recording star and celebrity TV judge on the NBC show "The Voice" is performing a surprise previously unannounced free concert tonight in Lee County.

The announcement came from a public relations firm and the show host, the Dixie Roadhouse in Cape Coral.

Only the first 800 people will get into Dixie Roadhouse and the lines already are forming this morning.

Admission is 21-and-over. Doors open at 7 p.m. He takes the stage at 8 p.m.

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