TicketMOMster review: Dolly Parton @ MTS Centre
People go to concerts for many different reasons. Some go to experience emotions, escape certain emotions, relive memories, etc. I went to Dolly Parton’s “Pure and Simple” show because I like her laugh. That’s it. That’s the reason.
I’ve been having a really crappy year full of hard changes. I know I’ll eventually feel better, but man am I emotionally tired. Change is hard work.
Someone once asked me if I could spend time with one person alive or dead for one hour, who would it be? I know people say Jesus or Gandhi or John Lennon, but my answer was my Grandma. I would spend that hour telling her about my life and asking her about hers, but most importantly, I would spend that hour in her arms.
Do you have someone in your life who knows how to hug? I mean REALLY knows how to hug. When I was a child, my Grandma gave me the most AMAZING hugs. Those all encompassing hugs, where I was totally engulfed in her body; warm and safe, full to the brim with love. If you have someone in your life like that, don’t take that stuff for granted. Not everyone can hug like that. It’s reserved for the very special, like my Grandma.
I don’t know why, but Dolly Parton’s laugh and accent remind me of my Grandma’s hugs. Even though she looks NOTHING like my Grandma…not at all…like not even remotely, her laugh carries that warm, comforting, special hug vibe.
Everything was dark and the sounds of crickets and birds filled the arena while twinkling lights danced like fireflies behind long white curtains on stage. Suddenly the song Hello Dolly exploded through the sounds of nature and there was the silhouette of Dolly Parton behind one of the curtains, as curvy as ever.
I think the first song was Night Train To Memphis, but to be perfectly honest with you, I was distracted. WHERE was drummer, Steve Turner? I could hear drums and there was a blank spot on the stage for a drum kit, but I only saw Dolly, a guy playing a piano and two guys playing guitars. Usually that would be enough for me to can a concert, but this time I wasn’t really there for the music. Later in the show she told us a cute story about replacing the drummer with a drum machine (which they did), but I wonder what the real story was.
Dolly and her band launched into Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That followed by Jolene and I marveled at what a performer she is. She truly is a personality; an entertainer through and through.
In between songs she told the audience about her life. As a matter of fact, I don’t recall a show with more stage banter than this one. For three hours, she sang and told long stories about her family and growing up dirt poor with twelve brothers and sisters. If I had gone for the music, I think I would have been disappointed because it felt like there were more stories than music. But because I went for comfort, what better way to be comforted than by listening to stories of someone’s life?
She sat on a make-shift front porch and sang Precious Memories and Tennessee Mountain Home, which I loved (I’m a sucker for the banjo), switching out instruments after every song. She told us stories about her Mother and how she always made people feel good and about her hard working Father and then dedicated Coat Of Many Colors to all the Mothers in the audience.
Shortly before the intermission she sang a medley with her band which included American Pie, If I Had A Hammer, Blowin’ In The Wind (Dust In The Wind) and The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down. She then sat on a white church pew and talked about how she physically morphed into Dolly Parton.
There was a twenty minute intermission and then Dolly burst back on stage dressed all in white with a red rhinestone belt. With her “happy heart” she talked about her plastic surgeries and then sang The Grass Is Blue while playing a white piano. The harmonizing in that song was lovely. Then she spoke about her collaboration with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris followed by a few of their songs.
Here You Come Again and Islands In The Stream were fun to listen to, but the crowd sat until she asked them to stand for 9 To 5. Definitely not the liveliest crowd I’ve ever seen at MTS, but I don’t blame them. There were a lot of stories, so it was more of a sit and listen show.
She ended with I Will Always Love You and there was no encore. None was needed, she sang and talked for almost three hours.
I thought Dolly’s voice sounded good even though she was fighting off the sniffles. She whispered a lot which was fine as well. I found her stories interesting and I heard her laugh a lot. So in other words, I went for comfort and that’s what I got. Pure and Simple Comfort.
P.S. I apologize for the picture. I was in the 300 section and it was impossible for me to take a picture of a moving musician.
TicketMOMster is a Rock and Jazz-loving Mom; single-handedly keeping Ticketmaster alive in Winnipeg. Follow her musical journey here: www.facebook.com/TicketMOMsters