By Wendy Gragg

Killeen Daily Herald

BELTON Forget the rodeos and monster truck shows. The Bell County Expo Center became a honky-tonk on Saturday night.

The beer flowed freely and the dancing was contagious as the venue played host to Pat Green, poster boy for Texas country music.

Cowboys in Wranglers and well-kept Stetsons mingled with more city-fied Central Texans to Greens special blend of laid-back country and rock and roll.

Openers Honeybrowne and Jason Aldean warmed up the crowd of about 3,500 who came from all parts of Central Texas for the show. Fans seemed grateful to get to enjoy Green in their own backyard.

Amanda Tumey, 20, and Brittani Goodnight, 18, would like to see more popular music acts at the Expo Center. Both girls were tickled to get to see Green for the first time, and so close to their homes in Salado.

More shows would be great, Tumey said, and whether theyre country, Christian or rock doesnt matter. There just needs to be more for young people in the area to do.

I think its pretty neat because in Salado theres not much to do and this is an opportunity to get out and see the people you enjoy listening to, Tumey said.

Desiree Runyon, 21 of Killeen, had a spot front and center on the Expo floor. Thats the way she planned it.

Runyon, with her mother, Denise Primeaux, and friends Tara Harper and Elizabeth Cook, arrived at the Expo Center early and made a mad dash to the stage as soon as the door opened.

Green kicked off his set with the good-feeling favorite Carry On, from his album Three Days. For the next few songs, he switched to cuts from his album Lucky Ones, released a little over a year ago.

Greens band was on and his energy was high, but he had to goad the tame Expo Center crowd into cutting loose a little.

You people dont start making some noise and Im gonna get upset, he said. Dont you feel like dancing?

Green fans wasted no time answering that call. It was fortunate the floor of the Expo Center was not packed, be-cause the back half made the perfect dance floor. All that was missing was a little sawdust. On the floor, in corners, even in the aisles, couples got to twirling and two-stepping to another favorite, Three Days.

Greens show hit a climax with his single Wave on Wave. He asked the crowd to join him on their feet for the song, which became an audience sing-along.

Yall are gonna take home tonight with every single one of you, he told the crowd.

Contact Wendy Gragg at wgragg@kdhnews.com

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