Chicks Rock Melbourne
Dixie Chicks - Rod Laver Arena - 17 October 2006
Alighting from the train at Jolimont, I joined the masses streaming towards the Rod Laver Arena. Among them was a group of young Kiwis who had made the trip across the Tasman for the event. If their reaction to the show was anything like mine, it would have been worth the trip.
It was a full house and the atmosphere in the dome was fraught with excited anticipation. Mexican waves rippled through the crowd as we waited for the acts to begin.
Pete Yorn a singer/songwriter from Syracuse New York opened the show with a pleasant set of folk rock tunes. His voice and delivery reminded me somewhat of James McMurtry. The only song I recognised was a cover of "Suspicious Minds". Pete Yorn's version was a killer and I made a mental note to listen to more of his music sometime soon.
George Saunders (a very fine and funny writer) has an amusing satire on this reaction on his website. You can read it at http://www.georgesaundersland.com/myproposal1.
Back to the show...
Australian audiences have no qualms about welcoming the Dixie Chicks, and do so with open arms and the Chicks gave it back in spades.
They played all their best-loved songs, like Goodbye Earl, Wide Open Spaces, Travellin' Soldier, Top of the World, the sassy Sin Wagon as well as songs from their latest CD Taking the Long Way such as Lubbock or Leave It, Not Ready to Make Nice and the title song, among others.
A great live act, the Chicks were supported by a large band* who rocked it up though never detracted from the talents of the individual Chicks. As I was sitting rather further from the stage than I like, I still felt involved and captivated. The sound was excellent, rich and full bodied without being ear buzzingly loud.
It was a sensational, high quality performance and I thoroughly enjoyed it. The audience was wildly appreciative even though Natalie remarked that they were too polite, encouraging them to get up and dance. Crowd control officials prevented all-out mayhem. However, at the end of the night just about everyone rose out of their seats to give the Chicks a standing ovation.
They deserved it.