Jan 24, 201203:31 PMThe Telegraph
The Premier Blog of the West
On the Scene: Loretta Lynn's Dallas Stop
Just before 7:30 on Sunday evening, Loretta Lynn made her grand entrance at Dallas’ Winspear Opera House. The 77-year-old country music legend -- a sparkling vision in a violet taffeta gown – took the stage to thunderous applause and delivered four hits rapid-fire, as if she were still on the honky-tonk circuit in the ’60s.
Each song in the opening foursome represented a different chapter of the singer’s story – her Kentucky upbringing in “They Don’t Make ‘Em Like My Daddy Anymore,” her affable personality in “You’re Looking At Country,” her roller-coaster love story in “When the Tingle Becomes a Chill,” and her fierce independent streak in “I Wanna Be Free.”
Before she even showed her face at this, the second concert of a scheduled monthslong tour, we’d already figured out that the evening was a family affair for Loretta. Her twin daughters, Patsy and Peggy, opened the show as the Lynns, singing original songs and covers. Her son, Ernie, did a couple of warm-up covers as well, and remained on stage throughout the night to play guitar – and give his mother a hard time between songs.
But Loretta always got the last word. She was quick, after the first four songs, to make jokes about the recent knee surgery that postponed the beginning of her new tour.
“I got a titanium knee,” she told the crowd. “Hey, I’m gonna be a bionic woman pretty soon if I break anything else. … Y’all mind if I sit down?”
Not at all, the people shouted, and out came a folding chair. When she took the seat, her petticoats and skirt puffed up. Still a vision, but a little shorter now.
With that, she and her large band cranked out more classics, from “You Ain’t Woman Enough” to “Blue Kentucky Girl” (whose opening bars somehow went over Lynn’s head and prompted her to say “I’m sorry, but I don’t know what you’re playin’, buddy.”)
As Lynn stayed seated, holding sway over all like the wise-and-funny grandmother she’s become, she and the band moved into a few of her more controversial (at the time) tunes. She followed “One’s On the Way” with “The Pill” in a stroke of thematic genius, and then brought back her angry-wife side with “Fist City.”
After singing the latter song, which depicts Lynn threatening a would-be mistress with a beatdown, she shared a story about its real-life inspiration:
“My husband was home sick, as you all know, for six years with sugar diabetes, and I stayed home and took care of him. This old gal I wrote ‘Fist City’ about, she came back to see my husband just before he died. You should have heard what he said about her. ... When she left, he said, ‘She still looks good, don’t she?’”
Roaring laughter from the crowd.
“Oh, y’all think that’s funny?”
The last section of the show featured a couple of gospel originals and, finally, “Coal Miner’s Daughter.” At that point, Loretta was back on her feet, singing with the same self assurance and familial love that you hear in the original recording.
There are no props, over-sized video screens or overcooked renditions at the Loretta Lynn show. She spins a few musical yarns, talks to her fans like they’re family, and tries her best to enjoy the moments.
The tour continues this weekend in Knoxville, and keeps going until summer, hitting the casinos and arts theaters of America. Find out more about the stops here, and try to make one if you can. Never pass up the chance to see a living legend perform. Especially this one.