One of the all-time country greats brings his Bakersfield sound to Idaho for a night of bliss – and lots of fantastic covers.
All right, so Ryan Bingham opened, and was fine, but to talk any more about him is to bury the lead. I mean, this is Dwight Mothafuckin Yoakam, people… want to take a guess at which musical artist has been on The Tonight Show more than any other, ever? That’s right, it’s Dwight. At least Wiki says so, and I want to believe it, so I will.
The second concert I ever attended was in 1993 (I think, although it may have been early ’94…), when my Mom and I went and saw Mr. Yoakam at the Pavilion for his Boise stop on his This Time tour. I was raised on 80s and 90s country music, as I mentioned in my recent Clint Black concert review, so Dwight was a big part of my childhood and a favorite of mine from very early on. I have maintained a massive soft spot for his sound, including his underappreciated recent work.
Dwight emerged onto the stage in his trademark jeans and jean jacket with a big white cowboy hat, and proceeded to dance around and gyrate while he strummed his acoustic guitar, just as he did as a much younger man. Dude still sounds excellent for his advanced age (he’ll turn 63 this year), and his band – dressed in matching blinged out suits, no less – was epic. The entire band was spot on, but in particular his lead guitar player Eugene Edwards, and the wizard/multi-instrumentalist (keys, violin, accordion, pedal steel, and banjo) whose name I do not know. I could have made it up, but this blog is all about honesty, folks.
As you can see, I didn’t pony up the extra $ for the VIP floor seats, so I was relegated to being at the very front of the GA floor area. At least most of those wankers sat through the set so it was almost like they weren’t even there…
Dwight sprinkled stories about his heroes Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and Don Henley throughout the first half of the show, and covered selections from each of those artists’ work. The second half of the show was vintage Dwight: in other words the man played a song and then took less than one second before starting the next one. The show opened with a Chuck Berry song, which is a tremendous way to start a set. It also included two Merle songs and three from Buck, as well as an Eagles track and a closer of Elvis’s “Suspicious Minds”.
He gave the Boise State football team and its blue turf a shout-out (red meat for the locals, and it worked), and referenced Boise’s place “out west” before talking about Buck’s Bakersfield sound. Our fair city’s distance from other large metro areas was used as an intro to the epic “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere”, which was performed so beautifully I got chills on this very warm evening.
All in all this was everything I had hoped it would be and more, and for 90 minutes I was in a state of bliss – and I wasn’t alone. My only complaint is that there was not more of his recent material played. His last album Second Hand Heart was not represented at all, which is a shame. His latest two singles (yet to be released on a proper LP) “Then Here Came Monday” – written with Chris Stapleton – and “Pretty Horses” sounded great, and goes to show that Dwight is far from done.
Little Queenie (Chuck Berry cover)
Please Please Baby
Streets of Bakersfield (Buck Owens cover)
Tonight the Bottle Let Me Down (Merle Haggard cover)
I’m a Lonesome Fugitive (Merle Haggard cover)
I’ll Be Gone
It Won’t Hurt
Peaceful Easy Feeling (The Eagles cover)
Then Here Came Monday
You’re the One
Turn it On, Turn it Up, Turn Me Loose
My Heart Skips a Beat (Buck Owens cover)
Act Naturally (Buck Owens cover)
Always Late With Your Kisses
Pocket of a Clown
Honky Tonk Man
A Thousand Miles from Nowhere
It Only Hurts When I Cry
Fast As You
Suspicious Minds (Elvis cover)
Spotify setlist playlist link: https://open.spotify.com/playlist/4QofBqm87wYy015AxdTqfJ?si=sQPu34YjTC6ubLjoHY1G0A