When Zac Brown Band takes the stage tonight, Cheyenne Frontier Days will officially be underway. Every year, it seems that CFD wins awards for having such a stellar outdoor rodeo, but the concert lineup seems to get stronger and stronger each year as well. With CFD picking up, I want to get ready, by taking a look at all the big concerts, and telling you which ones are going to be the best. Before I get into the top 5, it should be noted that there are 7 big concerts this year at CFD, so two did not make my list. The first of which is the Saturday night concert with Brad Paisley and The Band Perry. I am a huge Brad Paisley fan, but I will never give any recognition of talent for a group like The Band Perry, because that one guy looks like a rejected groupie for AC/DC in 1985... no one with hair like that should be successful in country music. The second concert not to make my top 5 is next Friday's Hank Williams Jr., Chris Young concert. I bet this would be a great show, but Chris Young is a rising star in country music, and Hank Williams Jr. is... fading? I would enjoy myself at this show, but this doesn't seem to bring the kind of fireworks I want to see at CFD.

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    Blake Shelton with special guest David Nail

    If you're anything like me, you probably saw this concert listing and thought, "Who is David Nail?" I'm not going to google this guy or anything, and this concert still makes my top 5 for the following reason: Blake Shelton is at the top of the country world right now. Where Garth Brooks was in 1997, where Tim McGraw was in 2004, Blake Shelton is in 2012. Star power; this concert is a hot ticket.

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    Journey w/ special guests Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo, and Loverboy

    First of all, the picture of Journey is spectacular and makes me laugh. It is as if all of them want to be Bono, and they are the heroes in a B-rate action film from 1995. That being said, I love this concert because... who doesn't want to party like it's 1989?!

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    Reba with special guests Rodney Atkins and Hunter Hayes

    It amuses me that they only bill her now as "Reba." Also, is she pushing 60 now? I don't even care, Reba McEntire is looking good and sounding good, and add some solid guests Rodney Atkins and Hunter Hayes, and I am in. Side note that did not factor my ranking of this concert, Reba was discovered when singing the National Anthem at a rodeo, and how incredible would it be if she sang the anthem at this show?! Very incredible, is the answer.

  • Photo from cfdrodeo.com

    Zac Brown Band w/ special guests the Marshall Tucker Band, Sonia Leigh, and Nic Cowan

    Two years ago I made the opinion that Zac Brown Band is this generation's Alabama. This opinion feels more and more like fact with each passing hit single from ZBB. From all accounts, they are one of the best shows to attend nowadays, and they had a stellar set last year at CFD, so this is a must-see performance. You have about a dozen #1 hits already, and you add to that a solid warm-up list of performers, and you have a memorable concert, number two on my list...

  • Photo from cfdrodeo.com

    Merle Haggard w/ special guest Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band

    I realize Hank Williams Jr. did not make my list because his star is significantly fading, but hear me out on this. Merle Haggard is long past his prime, this much is undeniable, but while Hank Williams Jr. is a big name, Merle Haggard is a legend. You ask 1,000 fans of country music for a list of the top ten country singers of all time, and you'd be hard pressed to find a single list without Merle in the top 5. On top of that, you have Chancey Williams and the Younger Brothers Band, whom many (myself included) consider to be the best Wyoming act since Chris Ledoux, you have a great country music concert. Let me rephrase to put the greatness of this concert into perspective; you have an all-time legend performing on stage with a real Wyoming country band, on Wyoming's largest stage. You won't hear a recent #1 single in the country ranks during this concert, but that does not phase me... Merle Haggard and Chancey Williams are the best CFD concert this year.