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Concert Reviews:
Brooks & Dunn
- October 14, 1995

Reba McEntire
- July 31, 1998
- August 25, 1996
- August 20, 1995
- August 27, 1994

Terri Clark
- September 13, 1996

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Brooks & Dunn
Reba McEntire
with Terri Clark & David Kersh
A Concert Review

July 31, 1998

The Rosemont Horizon

Rosemont, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
A Review in Sections:
A Lost Soul Returns…
20 Minutes of "Wow!", but...(David Kersh)
Much, Much Better...(Terri Clark)
Why Do I Follow the Rules Sometimes?
"Reba" - What more needs to be said?
Flying Drumsticks, Inflatable Boots and Dolls, and a Flying Hat.
Maybe Call it "More Bang for Your Buck Tour."

A Lost Soul Returns…
As I was in the dude-mobile on the way to the Reba/Brooks & Dunn concert, I tried to remember what was the last country concert I had seen. I couldn't remember. I know I hadn't seen Reba in about two years, Brooks & Dunn in about three, Terri Clark in about two, and David Kersh, well, never. I thought about it and also realized that, probably in the last year and a half, other than the standard favorite artists, there hasn't really been anything that excited me country music wise. I haven't been listening to country on the radio mostly, I guess, because in Chicago they generally just play the standard country-pop-top-forty that frankly is beginning to sound all the same. The few artists/bands that peaked my interest, like The Mavericks, Junior Brown, and even someone like Sammy Kershaw, rarely hit the airwaves here. Sure, there are a few songs out there that I find I like as I channel-hop by the country frequency, but that has been few and far between. So I pulled into my parking spot, headed to the gates at the Rosemont Horizon, and wondered a few things. One, could the Reba/Brooks & Dunn double bill, along with Terri Clark and David Kersh, renew my waning interest in country music; Two, would it still be cool seeing any of these artists, especially the headliners, when I knew they would have abbreviated sets; and Three, are country girls still as cute as I remember? At the end of the night the answer to all three questions was "Yes!"

I'm now inside, with camera gear and notepad, waiting to be escorted to the photo area, checking out the crowd (I like summer!), and it's finally time to go. First up - David Kersh.

20 Minutes of "Wow!", but…
David Kersh
He didn't have much time, maybe twenty minutes, but David Kersh did just about everything in those minutes to have me scribble down the notes "Wow, he works that stage better than some of the better acts I have seen." He gave those grins to the girls, he waved at nearly everyone who waved at him, and whereas some other up-and-trying-to-make-it-big acts have this problem of not knowing how to work an arena stage, David Kersh definitely did not have this problem, and he wasn't afraid to talk to the crowd either. With only those twenty minutes he played his radio hits, "Goodnight Sweetheart," "If I Never Stop Loving You," and "Day In and Day Out," (most that I didn't know he sang - that kinda goes along with the not listening to country radio much these days), but then proceeded to maybe scare the living daylights out of some of the older folks at the show when he went into his rock-n-roll set, starting with a tease of some AC/DC, "Back in Black" I believe, but then out of that into a medley of Lynyrd Skynyrd's "Sweet Home Alabama," into Aerosmith's "Walk this Way" (led by the keyboard player), into Wild Cherry's "Play That Funky Music White Boy," and back into "Sweet Home.." Now, this little twist in his set-list was very cool, although I would have really been impressed if he could have pulled off all of "Back in Black" other than the tease, but I like it when an artist can push the envelope a little other than sticking with the mundane. Closing things out, David sang his cover of Eric Clapton's "Wonderful Tonight" and had all of the young girlies going crazy as he took of his hat showing his wavy locks.

So, David Kersh was pretty cool, and I was duly impressed with his live show, but I did put a "but…" in this section's title, and the but… for me is this: David's radio hits are some of the reasons I haven't been listening to country radio, nor buying country CD's lately (David Kersh fans, I can hear your "Send" icon being clicked now, and your keyboard typing out something like "Dude, you don't know what you are talking about - you are an idiot." But before you do, read on a little, okay?). You see, I think David has a great voice, it's obvious he has a great stage presence, and he shows he can take chances while up on stage, but all I've heard from him on the radio, or can identify with him on the radio, is the same type of sound that I hear from lots of different artists whose names I don't bother to find out. True, maybe I need to pick up his CD's to find something different, but I got tired a while ago of spending money hoping to find those differences, and yea, I know they have those listening stations, but I just don't have time to stand in a record store for 40 minutes to find out. After seeing him live, though, I might give him that 40 minutes next time I'm shopping.

Well, that was a little more about David Kersh's twenty minute set than I intended to write, but I'll give him TWO BIG OL' HONKIN' THUMBS UP! for his set. He was cool to see live, even if I don't really care for his radio hits, and I look forward to seeing him when he gets more than twenty minutes to play.

Much, Much Better…
through a crowd. Finally down to the photo area, Reba's done with one song and I'm thinking to make the best of it, still kinda peeved at the "go without me" comment. One roll of film and one song later, I head back to my seat, thinking "Go without you, yea, and then have you yell at me for not waiting." But you know what, I shouldn't have followed the rules this time, I should have risked it, but at least I made one song. Enough grumbling, it was time for Reba.

"Reba" - What more needs to be said?

I think I've figured out exactly how to gauge the importance of an artist/band in the formation of a musical style, at least for me - it's when they can be identified by one name. Say Frank and I think Sinatra; say Bruce and I think Springsteen; say Floyd and I think Pink; say Garth and I think Brooks; say Hank and I think Williams; say Jimmy and I think Buffett; say Prince, and I think that the worst thing he ever did for his career was change his name. Then simply say Reba and the only match for that is McEntire.

So, Reba comes out and I'm kind of bummed thinking that she's going to have a shortened set because she's on this double-bill. But I knew the fun Reba puts into a show, the emotions, and how maybe the set might be shorter, but I guessed that I wouldn't be disappointed. There she is, on stage, singing "I'd Rather Ride Around with You" and I'm thinking, "Umm, where's the band?" The stage was this two tiered thing, one part where a band would normally be, and an upper level for the singer to walk around. It was wide open, with just Reba walking around, singing, and actually looking like she had too much room to move around. And then some doors raise and the band comes rolling out, literally, on platforms, to fill in the stage. Simple things impress me, and that did.


So, Reba didn't have a full-length show to fill, but she did want to get in as many of the older hits and newer songs into her show, and what better way to do that than with an abridged look at many of the songs that built her career. She quickly ran through classics such as "For My Broken Heart," "Whoever's In New England," and "You Lie," and as she was rolling along I scribbled down "It's Reba the singer, not the show-woman."
and more Reba!
Why, because what I always remembered about a Reba concert, along with the music, was that Reba usually didn't just sing a song, there was usually a show going on around it. But this set was nice - it really showed that Reba became Reba not because of those "gimmicks" as they are sometimes referred to, but because she can sing.

But, alright, I suppose it wouldn't be a Reba show without some show-womanship, and costume change #1 brought her out to a full-blown version of "Fancy," followed by a misty-eyed Reba, almost seeming in awe that the crowd would just go crazy when she smiled, and then by that great crowd-banter Reba is so good at about her next film.

And yes, this was a Reba show, which helped spotlight for me why I still like Reba so much - her music. The new songs were great, and she consistently sings every song, from "Forever Love" to "Is There Life Out There," from "Does He Love You" to "The Greatest Man I Never Knew" with every emotion that the song deserves.

So yea, she did pop up on a soundboard stage, she did some costume-changin', she did have some video things going on, and Reba is still one of the performers that can use them. However, from her opening block of songs, Reba showed that she doesn't really need them. Mostly, you just need the songs, sung by a singer that can.

Reba, yea, you know it, gets "TWO BIG OL' DAMN THAT LADY CAN SING THUMBS UP!"

Flying Drumsticks, Inflatable Boots and Dolls, a Flying Hat, and a Little Too Much Alcohol...
In another quick set-change (what a cool way to utilize those rolling band platforms and some raising doors) it was time for Brooks & Dunn. Me, I've always liked Brooks & Dunn. Maybe it's that mix of a, and don't take this wrong, goofball character like Kix Brooks, with the seriousness of Ronnie Dunn, maybe it's the fact that they still maintain a country-ish sound without going overboard, or maybe it's just because seeing them live is usually a lot of fun. Maybe it's all three.

So, Brooks & Dunn take the stage, and they're kinda put in the same position as Reba was, putting enough of the old and some of the new into a shortened set, while still making sure the crowd is thoroughly entertained. I'd say they accomplished just that.

Opening up, quickly the boys jumped their set into classics like "Brand New Man" and "My Maria,' while "How Long Gone" showed their still making new music to the liking of the crowd. You had Brooks all over the stage while Dunn sang his heart out, you had Brooks bustin' on Ronnie's hair, commenting how he thinks Ronnie has Viagra in his shampoo, and they had me realize how much I really like songs like "Neon Moon" and "Boot Scootin' Boogie." Yea, they used some gimmicks like giant inflatable cowboy boots for "Boot Scootin'.." and inflatable country girls during "Rock My World (Little Country Girl)" but who cares - it was fun, I liked it and the crowd liked it.

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and Dunn,


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