After attending both the first and last date on the Dixie Chicks' U.S. tour, a few differences come to mind.
Chicks' played in Greenville, S.C., on May 1, a handful of protesters marched for the army of media. Police officers were
scouting for trouble. To write about the show, I had to pay more than $300 for a pair of tickets.
For the final show
of the U.S. tour, at Nashville's Gaylord Entertainment Center on Monday (Aug. 4), a police officer was giving away eight tickets
(while on duty), making it impossible for a dozen folks with extra tickets to cover their losses. And there wasn't a protester
But the similarities between the two concerts are much more prevalent. Same T-shirt. (The black "Dare to
Be Free" one.) Same weird hairstyle. Same legion of squealing girls. Same set list.
Of course, when that set list includes
"Wide Open Spaces," "Cowboy Take Me Away" and "Travelin' Soldier," it's hard to complain. Outside of the familiar hits, the
Texas trio earned perhaps the biggest cheers of the night for the sassy bluegrass tune "White Trash Wedding," which indicates
that their Home album might have one more single worth releasing.
The stage was surrounded by a racetrack of
sorts, allowing the Chicks to play to every corner of the audience. The track was lighted underneath like a disco and decorated
with swirling frying pans ("Goodbye Earl"), aerial cityscapes ("If I Fall, You're Going Down With Me") and foliage ("Home").
It's like the coolest Formica you'd ever see. The bold red, yellow and blue squares during "Hello Mr. Heartache" made the
girls look like the next contestant on a game show, although given the recent turn of events, it would have to be a show more
"We've had the best audiences," said Martie Maguire. "Something about everything that's happened
to us in the last few months has made you show us a little bit extra love."
During the encore, Natalie Maines said,
"We decided to call this the Top of the World tour, but about four months ago, we thought we would have to change it to our
farewell tour. But we didn't have to do that because we have the greatest fans in the world!"
Other than that, the
stage banter was mostly of the "How y'all doin' Nashville!" variety. That left more time for music, which drew almost exclusively
from their first three albums. (They did cover Bob Dylan's "Mississippi.") Even with stuff sprouting from the stage (oversized
tulips, a windmill, a string section), the Chicks never relied solely on the spectacle to entertain the crowd. Instead, it
was their unique musical style that made you wonder what they'd sing -- if not say -- next.
Michelle Branch, a young
woman with a powerful voice, opened the show with music from her first two albums. Her material ventured into the rhythms
of Fleetwood Mac, to the straight-up pop hits like "All You Wanted" and "Everything." It's hard to say why she skipped her
Santana collaboration, "Game of Love," but her eight-song set warmed up the crowd admirably.
DIXIE CHICKS' SET
"Some Days You Gotta Dance"
"There's Your Trouble"
"Long Time Gone"
"Am I the Only One (Who's Ever Felt This Way)"
"Hello Mr. Heartache"
Day in July"
"White Trash Wedding"
"Lil' Jack Slade"
"Truth No. 2"
"If I Fall
You're Going Down With Me"
"Cowboy Take Me Away"
"Godspeed (Sweet Dreams)"
"Wide Open Spaces"
"Top of the World"