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Dixie Chicks
November 26, 2000 - Oakland Arena - Oakland, CA

The chicks that everyone is clamoring for were on the road this past year. These country ladies seemingly shot up to stardom out of nowhere. Little question why when seeing them in concert, as this trio of hotties know how to put on a show and definitely had control of the big arena stage. Of course, even when looking back at "that Earl song," these girls have their share of controversies follow. On this particular evening, it was brought to attention by a scant few that the Dixie Chicks have "abandoned" country music. They may indeed have tossed their country boots, but that didn't stop the audience from loving them. After opening act, the legendary Joe Ely, was done with his set, the crowd was ready to go with the Chicks.

When the Dixie Chicks hit the stage with "Ready To Run," the audience ate it up. As the three held the stage but knew how to deftly move about and use it, the music was already moving everyone. On the second number, "Trouble," Natalie decided to join in the musicianship by picking up the guitar and joining in. By the time the third tune, "Hello Mr. Heartache," was going, everyone was settled in for a fun couple of hours.

The staging was simple in design but effective, utilizing three screens that had good camera use on them with different designs and videos. Most noticeable onstage amongst the three was probably Natalie who was most obviously close to her due date but played on as a trooper. The band went on with such numbers as - "Don't Waste Your Heart," "If I Fall," "I Can Love You Better," "When You Were Mine," " Let Him Fly," and others. I had never seen the Dixie Chicks before but have to say that I was more than impressed with their musical abilities (Emily and Martie just rip it up on guitar and violin, respectively), stage presence, and performance. They did a fine cover of Bonnie Raitt's "Give It Up Or Let Me Go," with Emily shredding on guitar in her picking style. Here is a most competent guitar player who undoubtedly will be seen doing much more in the future. They did a jam number, "Roanoke," that has been unreleased to date, in which Emily and Martie just shred. The Dixie Chicks truly are country music's answer to speed metal. Rock on! Also to mention, Natalie Maine's dad played lap steel during the show.

Going back to the staging, "Cowboy Take Me Away" had a nice backdrop of twinkling stars while "Sin Wagon" had a drop of bright billowing red. During "Goodbye Earl," the trio went out into the audience, with Natalie playing bass and singing in the back of the floor area and the other two flanking the back balconies. At another part of the show, the girls took a break onstage to "share some photos" with the crowd. They started off by mentioning that the "newly single" Martie Seidel - "who is NOT knocked up" - had some baby photos to show. They turned out to be their idea of humorous morphing of such shots as "what if OJ and Martie had a baby," which turned into Gary Coleman. Martie and Bill Clinton had Pinocchio, etc. Funny little foray.

As the night came was coming to a close, the Chicks closed the set with "Wide Open Spaces," before coming to the edge of the stage to shake hands with the audience. They seemed genuinely happy to be performing and certainly put on a great show. I can't wait until the next time they come around.

Written by and photo © 2000 Philip Anderson

Philip Anderson is a musician, in addition to being a writer/photographer. He has performed as a guitarist/vocalist, as well as songwriter, in several bands over the past 20 years. As a writer and photographer, he has been published by several magazines and in several books, and had his works appear on television.

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