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November 17, 2006
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Volume 34
Issue 46
 
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Dixie Chicks ready to have fun at Tacoma Dome
Dixie Chicks ready to have fun at Tacoma Dome
by Lorelei Quenzer - SGN A&E Writer

The Dixie Chicks
Saturday, November 11, 8:00 pm
Tacoma Dome


The crowd at the Tacoma Dome last Friday might not have been ready to make nice, but they were ready to have fun with Dixie Chicks. You know you're in for a wild ride when you hear the strains of "Hail to the Chief" and 15,000 women start to scream. Okay, maybe there weren't that many girls in the audience, but the house, which was close to being sold out, was certainly estrogen-rich.

It was clear from the get-go that the Chicks weren't going to hold back for the sake of any conservatives that might be in the Dome. As soon as the opening act, Austin singer-songwriter Bob Schneider, left the stage, we were treated to a preview of the documentary Shut Up and Sing, which recounts the now infamous incident that put the Chicks at odds with their conservative country fanbase. (If you missed it, lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed that she and President Bush hailed from the same state of Texas.) The clip drew loud cheers for Maines' comment, and loud boos for the President. Yippee, this is my kind of crowd!

When the Dixie Chicks did make it to the stage - Maines, Martie Maguire (violin, mandolin) and Emily Robison (banjo, lap steel guitar) - with that intro of "Hail to the Chief," the stadium was on its feet, dancing and cheering to the hard-driving beat of "Lubbock or Leave It.." Their set of 19 songs and 3 encores covered years of material, including the Chicks' monster hit "Goodbye Earl" three songs into the concert, which became a sing-along for the fans. Maines introduced "Taking the Long Way" as the Dixie Chicks' philosophy of life, alluding to "the incident" as the "excellent career decisions we make." The mood mellowed with the strains of the Chicks' Fleetwood Mac cover "Landslide," with much of the audience finally settling down in their seats.

Maines asked the audience to hold up their cell phones for "Godspeed," making the Dome twinkle like the night sky. She then dedicated the next song, "White Trash Wedding," to Kevin Federline, the soon-to-be-ex-husband of Britney Spears, saying that the Chicks have done this for the past two concerts. "I figure, he's probably had a rough day." The rambunctious lyrics brought the crowd to its feet once again. Other highlights included an instrumental performance of "Lil' Jack Slade," a rendition of the early hit "Wide Open Spaces," and the raucous "Sin Wagon."

At times the concert felt a bit like a political rally. Maines made several self-conscious comments during the course of the show, including joking late in the show that she knew what we were thinking: "I can't believe she hasn't said anything about the elections!" Of course she then invited the audience to comment (cheers, naturally), and said that it feels like Christmas with Rumsfeld's departure. The Chicks' current hit "Not Ready To Make Nice" drew loud and lengthy applause, as did the anti-violence anthem "I Hope." Dixie Chicks fans and Bush-haters should definitely see the film Shut Up and Sing, which I was able to preview last week. There's concert footage from their "Top of the World" tour in 2003, and there's a lot of film on the making of their newest album, Taking the Long Way. Of course the main focus is on "the incident," but there's a lot of content on the creative process, too. Shut Up and Sing opens at the Meridian this Friday, November 17.

Bob Schneider did a fine job opening for the Chicks, considering he had an arena of impatient women waiting for the real show to start. He charmed the audience with original songs, including one where he admitted he was "Batman (but you can call me Bob)." Some of his lyrics were markedly adult for the pre-teens in the crowd, but he won over attendees "of a certain age" when he closed his set with the Carole King-Aretha Franklin standard, "Natural Woman."

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