Review: Loretta Lynn
Ameristar Pavilion, February 11, 2011
It isn’t often you get to see a legend. Sure, plenty of performers say they are legendary but few can boast the true legendary status of one Miss Loretta Lynn. Over the past 50+ years, she has blazed trails for women in music, addressed taboo subjects like birth control (“The Pill”) and divorce (“Rated X”) all the while keeping her place in music history and her fan based firmly cemented.
She’s always been feisty, outspoken, ornery and down home. Last Saturday night’s show at the Ameristar Pavilion was no exception. She gave the crowd what they wanted, the hits they clamored for, namely “Fist City,” “One’s On the Way,” “Out of My Head and into my Bed,” “She’s Got You” and, with the help of backup singer Bart Hanson, the classic duet she recorded with longtime friend Conway Twitty “Lead Me On.”
Miss Lynn’s performance and voice was excellent. She’s missing some of the high notes and she may be a bit slower than she used to be, but when you’re at her level, you get a pass on those things.The same could not be said for the night’s openers.
Like many a country extravaganza, this show was a family affair. First up to strut their stuff was son Ernie. Obviously drunk, he fumbled his way through Toby Keith’s “I Ain’t as Good as I Once Was” and made vain attempts to be funny, mostly with Viagra jokes. Once his mama came to the stage, he got even worse.
Mouthing off to his mother, trying to strum a guitar, making cracks about Kid Rock being gay and even saying, “Things ain’t like they used to be. We even got a black President now.” Ernie, do us and your Mother a favor: Get off the stage, go get a real job and quit screwing up Loretta’s shows. You are an embarrassment. Finally and thankfully, he disappeared in time for his twin sisters, Patsy and Peggy, to take the stage. They were better but not by a country mile. Their voices were okay, the songs they sang were poorly written and, just a quick note here, if you’re going to open for Loretta Lynn, DO NOT forget your lyrics. You are supposed to be professionals, act like it.
But all that was washed away once Loretta, the queen, hit the stage. All decked out in one of her trademarked sequined hillbilly Barbie dresses and sharing her homespun charm, “Just yell out what you wanna hear, honey. I won’t sing it but it’ll give you chance to holler” she personified country music. Not Taylor Swift pop country but real country full of longing, desperation and regret.
When she cracked open her vast catalog for now standards like “ Honky Tonk Girl,” “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man),” the gospel number “Everybody Wants to Go To Heaven” and the haunting “When A Tingle Becomes A Chill,” she showed all that were there why she is the most Awarded Woman in Country Music History, why she was the first woman to win Entertainer of The Year and why she is so revered. She is the shining example of how a “Coal Miner’s Daughter” from Butcher Holler, Kentucky can rise above poverty and become one of the most beloved figures and role models in not just country music but all of music.
The fire from her very soul has given birth to countless strong women ranging from Miranda Lambert to Sheryl Crow. She takes no shit, speaks her mind and can still sing as good as when she first kicked out “Blue Kentucky Girl” back in 1965. She is royalty. She is the Queen. And we she threatens to “Snatch you up by the hair of the head and throw you in a garage can” you know she damn well means it. Keep going Loretta, you are a real entertainer and please, give that boy of yours a good rap on the head for me.