Wednesday, March 10, 2010

George and Reba: The EPIC Tour

Back in January, my mother called and let me know that George Strait and Reba McEntire were coming in concert. My voice raised many octaves when I said that we were going, and there wasn't anything she could do to change my mind.

I grew up in a rock and roll household. My mom was a teenager in the 70's, with nothing but big brothers who liked Zeppelin and Lynyrd Skynyrd. She was 21 when she had me, so she and my father were still young and wanted to listen to music, drink, and smoke pot. All a normal part of everyone's childhood, yes?

But we are a musically eclectic family. My mom's father loved country, and that's what my mom grew up listening to. In the early 90's, I got the country bug, and rarely listened to anything else. I jumped from that to seriously hard heavy metal. Go figure.

I remember vividly the first time I saw the video for Reba McEntire's Fancy. I was so very very little. I'd never heard the song before, but I watched the video, turned to my mother, and asked if it was a true story. Heh. She bought the cassette tape (wow, I'm old! Hi! Had record and 8-track players, too!), and I sat down with the little booklet and learned all of the words to the song. Fancy is the first song I ever learned all the words to. It has an extremely special place in my heart.

I also used to sing it very drunkenly during karaoke. That's another story.

So, Friday night, my niece, mother, her boyfriend, and his son all loaded into my mother's extremely tiny rental car and drove to the New Orleans Arena to see the concert.

Originally I was told Miranda Lambert was supposed to open. I'm not familiar with any songs of hers other than Gunpowder and Lead, which I do love. So I downloaded her two albums and was prepared to listen to them. Then I found out she wasn't the opening act anymore. Leanne Womack was.

Seriously? The "I Hope You Dance" chick? Who hates me enough to do this to me?

We wandered around looking at the T-shirts, and didn't head in to see Leanne's show until it was almost over. My niece was mad, but I told her we weren't missing anything. Yes, I am going to hell. My mother's bf bought her and his son the bootlegged concert shirts, but they didn't have a small size for niece, and I said no, thank you, because concert shirts are hella expensive.

Then I spotted the shirt I wanted so badly I would've mugged an old lady for it. All black, with "Fancy" written in shiny red letters. Wanted. So. Hard. And they didn't have it even close to my size. The largest size would've fit my niece. Seriously. I was highly irritated.

But my mom's bf did end up buying me a pale green shirt with Reba's GORGEOUS face on it, and the words "Keep on Loving You" (the title of her new album) on it. It says "Reba: Tour 2010" on the back. Didn't get a George shirt. At $30 a pop, I can only afford to fangirl one of them.

We finally got to our seats in time to hear the goddamn "Hope You Dance" song. She also sang Patsy Cline's "She's Got You", which I love and appreciated. She can sing. She's just not relevant anymore.

My camera broke right before Halloween last year, and I haven't had the money to replace it yet. This is a personal grr for me. My mother is technologically challenged, so all of her memory cards (four of them!) are so full there's barely room for anything. I'd managed to clear a bit of space on one, so we had 20 minutes available for videos. I knew I was going to get her performing "Fancy", and hoped to grab a couple of other songs by her and George, especially "I Cross My Heart" and "Give it Away". I also used my camera phone to take 40 second clips, which I sent to Twitter as the night progressed.

When Reba came out on stage, I lost my mind. She looks incredible, for any age, but the fact that she's still spry and gorgeous at 50+ is mind blowing. She wore a sparkly black blouse, black pants, and boots, and she could have passed for 30. I don't care if she's had work done, she did it right. She looks phenomenal.

She started with a couple of songs I'm not familiar with, including her new hit "Strange", which I only know vaguely.

Then "The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia", which was AMAZING. That was the first video I recorded. Her stage performance is so great. She has such extreme energy, and she really acts out what she's singing. We were in high seats, but the stage was completely open, and there were the big screens, so I didn't feel I was missing anything.

After that she did a song from her new album, "I'll Have What She's Having", which is classic country fun about being in a bar and picking up a hottie. She said when she was younger, they judged songs by how well you could dance to them, and she had faith this would be a dancing song. I really agree.

Then she played "Fallin' Out of Love", and from the first line, this was where I lost my shit and started crying. I wasn't sobbing, or anything, but I was having a seriously hard time stopping the leaks in my eyes. This continued through the entire goddamn show, and it was seriously embarrassing. I dislike looking like a weepy chick. But I've been waiting over 20 years to see this woman in concert, and it all came out, starting at this point.

In order, she next did the upbeat "Nothing to Lose", which I'm also not familiar with. She did a double-shot of soft #1's, only one of which I remember, which was "My Broken Heart". Bawl bawl bawl.

And then the opening notes of "Does He Love You" started. This is a serious favorite of mine, and when the crowd went nuts, I looked over and spotted Leanne Womack heading through the crowd to the stage. This duet was AMAZING. The ladies were maybe a foot apart singing the two parts, and it just sounded goddamn phenomenal. I've been quietly singing that song ever since.

The next song I don't know the name of, but it was about wanting a cowboy. The big screens showed pictures of various cowboys through history. The ones I most remember (because I cheered along with the crowd) were Robert Redford, Paul Newman, Tim McGraw, Garth Brooks, Clint Eastwood, and of course, George Strait. That was fun audience participation right there. She sat down on a stool, and started a story about her father, and I knew "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" was coming. She actually teared up on this one, which DID NOT HELP MY CRYING RECORD. Such a beautiful song. Doesn't make me appreciate my father more, or anything, but it's so lovely, and it always affects me.

She also sang the title song from her new album, "Keep on Loving You". It was pretty, but I don't remember anything really about it.

Here's someone else's video of her singing, "Why Haven't I Heard From You". Upbeat songs didn't translate well on my camera phone. Unfortunately, the person's Minnie Mouse voice is also included here. But you get a nice close-up of Reba.

She said some very lovely things about Kelly Clarkson when introducing "Because of You". I grumbled and growled because I hate American Idol people, and think KC has no talent. Mom and Niece were horrified.


She started talking about 2001, and how it was a great year for her. She mentioned the show, and everyone screamed, knowing she was about to do "Survivor", the theme song of her eponymous TV show. Then there was excitement as someone came HAULING ASS through the crowd to the stage, and started running around the stage like a CRAZY PERSON. We knew it wasn't some crazed fan, because they came the same way as the performers from backstage. Everyone was freaking out, and I'm wondering who the hell this person is, when she starts talking.

Holy fuckballs. That is Melissa Peterson, aka Barbara Jean, from Reba.

I screamed my head off along with the rest of the crowd.

She was fucking HILARIOUS. She was Barbara Jean. She wore a George Strait shirt, a New Orleans police department hat, and carried a longneck Budweiser. I immediately started recording when I realized who it was, but I had to stop before she was done, and I didn't get her singing "Survivor" with Melissa behind her pretending to sing into the mic. She also fed the crowd by yelling "WHO DAT?". Then she pointed at Reba and said, "SHE DAT!" She also made the George Strait on her shirt "talk", and say "Who dat". The crowd ate that shit up. As did I.

Oh, but someone else on Youtube did. Sweet.

The last song I have her playing was "Is there life out there", then she left the stage.

Everyone went nuts screaming. Then the big screens flashed off. And when they came back on, I knew in the first millisecond what it was. And I think that was the moment I did the most severe damage to my vocal chords. Because it was the video for "Fancy".

She came out from the backstage area in a goddamn taxi cab, just like the video. And when she got out, she had an amazing red dress. Though it didn't have a slit clean up to her hip. She looked so goddamn sexy, there are no words.

The video I got, I am quite certain, is shaky, and my singing and screaming can be heard. Not looking forward to hearing myself spazz out. But it was the greatest concert moment I've ever seen, and I've been going to concerts since I was 4 years old.

After the set, my mother and I went outside to the smoking area, and I made friends with a very lovely woman named Regina, from Michigan. She just moved to Louisiana recently, and she was a trip. She also made my life by having a girlfriend named Phyllis. I love the name Phyllis, yet have never met anyone with that name. it's such a cool name. I informed her my friend Syd was going to be seeing the same show in Little Rock, AR the next day, and would be taking pictures and putting them online. She made me get her e-mail address so I could point her to them. Though now I think Syd didn't get many/any pics? Not sure.

I ended up talking to Regina too long, though. I was trying to keep an eye out for the lights being off, but when I got back inside, George Strait was halfway through "I Hate Everything", and I was PISSED. My mom's bf just appeared when I got in there, and I grabbed niece's hand and we RAN up the stairs (fuck the escalators, let's go!!). Then I could find our seats, and I was getting angrier and angrier. My mother was furious when we got back because she thought we were lost, I was mad I'd missed ¾ of the song. Bad moment there!

But then George played "Check Yes or No", and I forgot everything and enjoyed it. At this point, I only had 2:50 left on the camera. I was furious, but told my mother we would save the video for "I Cross My Heart". Frustrating, but there wasn't one video of Reba I could get rid of. So we had to suck it up.

George is an amazing singer, but he's not much of a showman. He plays his guitar, and he sings in an amazingly gorgeous voice, but he doesn't move around a lot. It's okay, but it doesn't leave much to talk about when discussing the show. I will say that one of the great things about him is that his voice live is almost identical to his voice on CD. I love when a musician proves his worth. He's earned all of those #1's.

Below are the videos I found on Youtube of the concert. Unfortunately, I didn't get any video of him. Still upset. Along with a list of the songs I do remember.

I Saw God Today

Rodeo Man
The Chair

Wrapped Around Your Finger

The Fireman

Ocean Front Property
Song of the Southland
Amarillo by Morning
The Troubadour
Give it Away


All My Ex's Live in Texas
How 'Bout Them Cowgirls

When he walked off stage, I had a sinking sensation. "I Cross My Heart" is not an encore song. But then he came back and did more than one song. There's hope. There's hope!!

Then he started Johnny Cash's (Shot a man in Reno), and I slunk in my seat. He didn't sing my favorite song of his, and I was brokenhearted. But the Johnny Cash song did show he liked to put on a show. For the line "I shot a man in Reno just to watch him die", it was punctuated with a loud cannon shot that made everyone jump and scream. It was wonderful, and afterwards he took the time to shake hands with the crowd near the stage.

And that was it. A wonderful show by two icons in music. Not just country.

And on the drive home, we listened to "I Cross My Heart". So it helped me get over my bitterness.

EPIC concert. Just epic.

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