"The best 4th of July I've ever had," Paisley says of USO concert at the White House...
Grand Ole Opry favorite Brad Paisley headlined the USO "Salute to the Military" concert at the White House on Wednesday night as President Obama and First Lady Obama hosted troops and their families for their annual Independence Day picnic on the South Lawn. The acclaimed Tennessee superstar, 39, has sold millions of albums around the globe, and was named the Country Music Association Entertainer of the Year in 2011. But the Presidential Fourth of July was a big day for him. (Above: Paisley mid-set)
"Probably at this moment I am the proudest to be an American as I have ever been," Paisley told the cheering crowd as he took a break on the dramatically lit stage.
More than 1,200 troops and their families frolicked on the bunting and flag-draped South Lawn during the Presidential party, enjoying burgers, hot dogs, and treats that included cotton candy and ice cream.
Paisley played for close to forty minutes as darkness fell, though the temperature was still pushing 90 degrees. That didn't stop the fun; revelers danced in front of the stage. Paisley switched guitars a number of times, and at one point threw some of his guitar picks to thrilled fans.
"Thank you Mr. President, First Lady, and all the branches of military for the best 4th of July I've ever had," Paisley tweeted after the concert.
He also tweeted photos, including the ones in this post. He wrote "Um, yes, police? The big house up the street is having a really loud party. On Pennsylvania Avenue," with the photo at top.
"Haven't sung in someone's backyard in a while," was another tweet.
The singer was as filled with mischief during his performance, offering some advice before launching into his hit "She's Everything."
"If you've ever wanted to make out on the White House lawn, this is your shot," Paisley said. "If you can't close the deal with this song..."
After Paisley was done, guests watched the spectacular fireworks display over the National Mall from the prime viewing seats on the South Lawn. Both the concert and the fireworks were livestreamed by the White House, but a video of Paisley's performance has not yet been released.
Wednesday marked Paisley's second performance at the White House; he first played two years ago, when the President and Mrs. Obama welcomed him in July of 2009 for a country music edition of the PBS series In Performance at the White House. (Above: A longshot of the stage and Paisley)
*Click here for a full post about the picnic
The President's remarks at the picnic:
The fireworks display:
*Photos courtesy of Brad Paisley; White House videos