A Concert Review
You know, I'm at the Star Plaza Theatre in Indiana and I see no
other press folks taking pictures, really don't see anyone else
taking notes, and as I'm sitting there waiting to take my photos and
get to my seat a nice lady goes "Are you from the Chicago
Tribune?" I politely tell her no - that I'm from Entertainment
Ave!, and she asks me "Why doesn't the Tribune or Sun Times
ever cover Alabama?" Well, I don't know. Maybe it's because
these guys aren't the "cool, new" band on the country
scene, maybe they think no one wants to read about them, maybe they
think this band doesn't have an impact any more. I don't know why
there is the seeming lack of "big-city" press, but I do
know that this is a group that never has seemed to have forgotten
their fans, and their fans haven't ever forgotten about them. From
around the world the fans keep coming to the shows, the fans keep
buying their music, the fans keep requesting hit after hit. And the
band keeps playing. The band - Alabama.
As the band that has been dominating country music for years took
the stage, behind them was a backdrop of, I'm pretty sure, various
album covers from their history. And as the first notes to their new
single, "Sad Lookin' Moon" filled the theater, I noticed
something a little different from the last Alabama show I saw. The
band seemed energized, the band seemed "on", the band had
an attitude, a confidence, that they are still the band to be
reckoned with when it comes to country music.
It seemed like one of two things to me - One: That they had just
gotten off of a break and were refreshed and ready for the road or
Two: They were pissed. Tired of being passed over for awards that
should have been theirs, they are on a mission to reclaim their
throne as the band to which all other country bands are rated
against. Maybe it's a little bit of both, maybe it's none of the
above, but of all of the Alabama shows I've seen this one almost
went down as the all-time best of Alabama. Why almost? Well, you'll
just have to finish this review to find out.
Like most Alabama shows, this one was about the hits that have
spanned their career, and much like most Alabama shows this was as
much about the fans as it was about the music. But not like the last
show I saw, which was great and all, this one had Jeff Cook wailin'
on guitar just a little bit stronger, had Teddy Gentry hitting those
bass notes a little bit cleaner, had the drummer dude bangin' away a
little crisper and had Randy Owen smilin' more, talking with the
crowd more, and being the Randy Owen I remember from the first
Alabama show I remember seeing years ago. From "She and I"
to "The Closer You Get" to one of the best versions of
"Tennessee River" I've heard in decades, this show never
And what would an Alabama show be without their patented, well,
alright, maybe not patented, but probably one of the best crowd
interaction segments of any band out there. Alabama is never afraid
of their fans (although sometimes I think they should be from some
of the "stalker" types I've seen), but they always seem to
make a connection and this show had it more than ever. With a little
"Happy Birthday" sing-a-long, to a request for "As
Far As I Can Go" for a couple who said it was their "first
dance" song at their wedding (Randy kinda figured they meant
"Forever's As Far As I'll Go," though the jokes came
flying for the couple's choice of song title), to the band bringing
some fans on stage to sing "Song of the South," it never
ceases to amaze me just how much Alabama tries to click with every
person in their audience.
|Randy having fun!
They did hit a couple of songs from their new CD, "Dancin'
On the Boulevard," kept the night filled with an up-tempo show,
and as the band left the stage after "Mountain Music"
before their first encore, I was feeling good, even if the next day
was a Monday. Then the band comes out and blasts through "I'm
In a Hurry (and I Don't Know Why)" and that blazing version of
"Tennessee River" and I was ready to party all night. So
too was the rest of the crowd, but then, kinda like a premature
ending to what was building as a fabulous night, the lights came up.
"What do you mean they're done?" I thought. "It's
only been about an hour and fifteen minutes." And unfortunately
I wasn't alone because I heard many gripes from the folks around me
about how short the show was. Now I know sometimes there are reasons
for a band leaving early, and I've always been one to say the band
should at least say something like "we've got to drive a
million miles to our show tomorrow - this is our last song - thanks
for coming - Good Night," or "I've been having problems
with my voice so my doctor said I have to cut it short - thanks for
coming - Good Night" or even "I've really got to go to the
bathroom - this is the last song - thanks for coming - Good
Night," just any explanation will usually do, but tonight they
just seemed to leave, and it was just too bad because everything was
leading to this being one of the classic Alabama shows of all time.
Me being me, especially if I'm going to knock a band for a short
show, I was curious as to just how long this show compared to some
others and sure enough it clocked in at some fifteen or more minutes
shorter than previous shows. It doesn't sound like much, but the
crowd sure did notice.
All in all it was a great Alabama show, much more up-tempo, much
more fired-up, much more energetic than I've seen in a while. But
since our review rating is weighted towards the crowd I've got to
drop a thumb and only give Alabama ONE THUMB UP this time. As much
as they spent the hour and fifteen minutes pleasing their fans,
their abrupt departure knocked down all the build-up the band is so
great at generating.
That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right!! L8R!!