Review Cassandra Hale
It was evident the bedazzlers had been in overdrive leading up to the Dixie Chicks sold out shows at Rod Laver Arena. With no rhinestone left unturned the hoards boot scooted their way down Batman Avenue for a night of country tunes with this terrific trio.
Avalanche City hailing from New Zealand was the warm up to get the nights proceedings underway. Dave Baxter has had huge success in his homeland and showed us why he has several number one hits in the New Zealand charts with songs such as Love, Love, Love and Inside Out. A solid 45 minute set was enjoyed by all. I don’t think he had the lighting he deserved, and I found it difficult to see the band for quite a bit of their performance.
A disclaimer was read several times on entry to Rod Laver Arena stating the show was being filmed for a DVD, which answered a few questions as to why the roadies were wearing surgical booties, clearly they were keeping the stage super clean for the DVD footage. Michael Chugg even graced the stage reminding us yet again that we were being recorded. With all the housekeeping taken care of it was time to get on with the show.
Due to the filming the house lights were not dropped which I did not like, but it didn’t seem to worry the fans too much. Let’s Go Crazy by Prince rang out which built the anticipation a notch or two until it was finally time for the Dixie Chicks to take the stage.
Opening with The Long Way Around to thunderous applause the Dixie Chicks were off and running in what would be a huge two hour show filled with plenty of hits to keep everyone satisfied. Some Days You Gotta Dance did just that and everyone was on there feet enjoying the spectacle. With a stage of all black and white and outfits to match the Chicks looked pristine and all class as they played their hearts out to the adoring fans. A beautiful tribute to Prince with Nothing Compares to You brought tears to many an eye, the man himself would have been proud, they did an amazing job.
Taking the show down to stools and minimal instruments in front of a curtain at the front of the stage was a nice touch, it gave an intimacy that we are not often shown in big stage shows. The girls had changed their clothes from ‘black and white’ to ‘white and black’ keeping in the theme of the night. Their bluegrass roots shone through during this set and it was a part of the show I really enjoyed. Travelin’ Soldier, Don’t Let Me Die in Florida and Daddy Lessons were a few played before the girls did a cracker of a bluegrass instrumental. The musical talent these three have is evident in every song they played and Natalie’s voice was pitch perfect in every word she sang. It was wonderful to see that three of the backing band hail from Australia, a real credit to them, and not too shabby to put on your resume.
Back to the main stage and the floor that was black was now white, still fitting in with the colour free theme. Ready to Run was fabulous and clearly a fan favourite, finishing with confetti cannons from all corners of Rod Laver Arena. The variety of cowboy boots on display was fascinating, fringes adorned every second person in some way shape or form, as did the cowboy hats and I think there might have been a sale on pink ones as they were the choice of many.
The Fleetwood Mac cover of Landslide was beautifully performed, backed up with Cowboy Take Me Away, Wide Open Spaces and Sin Wagon to finish out the set.
I can’t recall exactly what song it was but I believe it may have been Sin Wagon when the square dancing ensued on the floor, the camera man made a mad dash to film it, so there is no doubt it will make the DVD. Well done to the participants you dosey doe’d quite unlike anyone I have seen before!
A brief moment or two and it was into the encore, Not Ready to Make Nice had this country loving crowd kicking up their heels and eager for one more. A cover of Ben Harper’s Better Way rained out giving the fans the chant they had been waiting for. They sang back with gusto, loving every minute. The two hours flew by but I am sure many will be back for the second show on Sunday night.
While my hat may not be of the cowboy variety, I would still take it off and say job well done, a very entertaining show!