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Concert Reviews:
Terri Clark
- July 31, 1998

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George Strait
with Terri Clark
A Concert Review

September 13, 1996

The Rosemont Horizon

Rosemont, IL

A Review and Photos by
The Dude on the Right
Another good show to bring a date to and I'm stuck with my buddy Big Cooter. Wow, I really need to find a girlfriend to take with me to shows. This time out it was time for the return of George Strait to Chicago, and cruising around with him on this tour was Terri Clark. Let's start with a quick word about the stage set-up.

This was one of those "in-the-round" type shows. Personally, someone out there needs to go back to geometry class because this was really an "in-the-square" show. Basically, set up in the middle of the Rosemont Horizon was a square stage with a band on it. I've never seen an "in-the-(insert geometric figure her)" show (my second one was seeing Neil Diamond two days later), so I was interested to see how an artist could pull it off. As nice as the concept is, this set-up didn't seem to work all that well (unlike Neil Diamond's stage which seemed a little better suited for the man). I'll get to why as you read the reviews. First up - Terri Clark.

Terri Clark
Terri Clark
Terri Clark has one CD I know of, and it's a pretty good CD as far as CD's go. Her show was basically a set-list of the hits off of that CD, with two new songs set for her new CD coming soon to a record store near you. With that, Terri doesn't yet have the popularity to have a crowd captivated by her, she needs to captivate the crowd, which is hard to do one section at a time. I think her biggest problem this night was that the stage was "in-the-square." She would basically sing a verse, get the 5000ish people in front of her into the song, then switch to the next side of the square. The 5000ish people just getting into the song now get a nice shot of her working a new set of 5000ish people, and then after another verse the process starts over again. Instead of singing to 20,000ish people, is was like little blocks of 5000 and never being able to really stir up the excitement. Then she played this bluesy song sitting on a stool. Cool concept when your back is only to a couple thousand of the fans, but in this set-up it was like 15,000 people behind her. My thought was that although I like Terri Clark, and she was a good performer, she only seemed to be a good performer 1/4 of the time. The rest of the time she was working the other 3/4's of the crowd.

Well, I guess I can't condemn Terri Clark for the stage set-up, I know if I was one of country's rising stars, I would do anything to be on a bill with George Strait. But, try as she might, she just couldn't work the crowd more than 1/4 at a time. I think it's a lot more work to excite an entire crowd in a set-up like this, and she just didn't meet the challenge this time. It's a ONE THUMB UPPER for Terri Clark.

Terri Clark left the stage and I eagerly awaited George Strait, and I didn't know why.

George Strait - Having Fun!
George Strait - Having Fun!
See, I had always heard George Strait was this great performer, and I liked his songs and all, but after seeing Terri Clark on this stage, and with my impression of George Strait being that he was one of those "standing behind a mike with a guitar" singers, I really expected to be kinda bored for about 3/4 of the show like I sort of was for Terri Clark. Well, I wasn't, but I did get a good work out.

George Strait does a much better job of working the "in-the-square" set-up, and I was almost impressed. The show touched on most aspect of the career of George Strait, his musical influences including Merle Haggard, and was just a really cool show.

What really impressed me about George Strait is that he just looked like he was having so much damn fun up there singing for his fans. And they seemed to appreciate it with every lap he took around the square by rising to their feet for the short time he played to that group. By the way, that's where the exercise part of the show comes in because basically it was "up and down and down and down and up and down and down and down and up and down and down and down and up" - I think you get the picture. He knows how to work a crowd well, and as I listened to
George Strait - A Little Serious.
George Strait - A Little Serious.
the many hits and some of the more obscure songs, I found a greater appreciation for this performer and can start to see why so many people like him. It's not about flashy stages, it's not about fancy lights (except for those ones that looked like little sperms flashed on the "ceiling" above the stage), it's not about gimmicks (well, alright, he did have a "disco" ball), but really, it's not about anything like that. All George Strait is about is a singer who has a personality that can touch every person in the audience. With every grin you feel as happy as he looks, with every near-tear, you feel like kinda cryin' too, with every upbeat song you want to dance, and with every ballad you want to hold your honey. Not every singer can do that - it is a few lucky ones - and George Strait is one of them. He has a great band with his "Ace in the Hole" group, and when the cowboy rode away, all of those city boys who got to bust out their cowboy hats, polish up their boots, and jump in their pick-up, and all of those city-girls who got to squeeze into those jeans, pretty themselves up, and yell at their city boys to clean out their pick-ups went home wondering when George might come back and hoping it wouldn't be as long as the last time. He was cool.

Alright, I still don't like the "in-the-square" set-up for George, but he did a great job of working the crowd more like 1/2 at a time than 1/4 at a time. I can see why people love him, why they can't wait for the next show to stroll through town, and why they ride their motorcycle 300 miles to see him like I heard one guy did while I waited to get in. George Strait gets TWO BIG OL' THUMBS UP!!!

That's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right. L8R!!!


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