A Date with Destiny: My Night with Dolly Parton

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Last month, I fulfilled one of my long time bucket list items.  I saw Dolly Parton in concert, and I cannot even begin to tell you what a treat it was for me.  I am a fan from YEARS back.  I remember growing up on her songs in the 70s and 80s, listening to her new music in the 90s, and following her career all along the way ever since.   There is just something so completely genuine about Dolly that makes you feel like you know her (and want to know her more).  And let me tell you, her voice was just as pure as it ever was.  The night was amazing from beginning to end, and I doubt that I will ever forget it.  So let me share a little with you. 



To begin, Dolly Parton is 70 years old, and she hasn't been on a nationwide US tour like this in decades.  She has been busy recording and making movies, and she does a lot of touring overseas. So when I read earlier this year that she would be launching her Pure and Simple Tour across the US this summer, I knew I would have to be there.  Little by little dates began to go on sale, and we were able to secure really good tickets for this once in a lifetime show. I don't know how many other tours and shows she will perform (or if she will ever actually "retire") but I sure am glad I finally got to see her live in concert. 

The name of her show "Pure and Simple" couldn't have been a better fit for the treat we were in for.   There were no jumbo tron screens, no opening acts, no announcer to bring her out onto stage, and her band consisted of only three musicians in addition to herself.  But as she was quick to point out "Pure and Simple" did not mean no rhinestones, no glitz or glitter.  No. Dolly is always true to herself, and those sorts of things seem to just follow her.  Maybe that's another reason I love her so much. 

So, when the time came for the show to begin, the lights dimmed and the crowded roared with excitement.  Just then one by one, the three musicians came out onto the stage, and began to sing "Hello Dolly", and then on cue, she walked into the spotlight and the show began.  She started the show with "Why'd You Come in Here (Looking Like That)", a hit from 1989.  I instantly recognized it and started singing right along.  So did everyone else.  The excitement was palpable.  She quickly followed with "Jolene"- one of my all time favorites!  Bang, bang, right out of the gate, she was one fire.  

She sang song after song, hit after hit.  All of her big hits that we all immediately know and love. But as if that weren't enough, it was the time between the songs that was so incredibly special.  She told stories about her life, about her family, her childhood and her upbringing, her faith, her husband, her music and her career, and on and on.  She was so funny,  Many of her stories led her into another song.  And then she would pause and tell another one.  It was like you were chatting with an old friend in your living room.  She was not just singing to us or performing for us.  We felt included in this very special night.  We were a part of something so big and so wonderful.  She was genuine and sincere.  One of her stories even made me cry.  This woman is a legend and a pro.  I can't say enough.

I found a clip on some of the concert that we attended on You Tube.  Take a look and a listen here

And as if all that weren't enough, she played virtually every musical instrument known to man over the course of the evening.  Of course, we knew she played the guitar.  But she soon switched out to a mandolin, a dulcimer, a violin, the harmonica, even a saxophone, and then the piano.  I know I'm missing a few because we kept count that night and it was close to 10.  Every single instrument she played was white and covered in rhinestones.  What a talent!

She filled us in on the projects she's been working on, including her new album by the same name as her tour- Pure and Simple.  At the time of the concert it had not even been released yet, but it is available now.  She played us a few of her new songs, which were fabulous, of course.  She also mentioned that she was working on releasing another album with Linda Ronstadt and Emmylou Harris. Apparently, they recorded many songs together back in the day that never made it to an album, so they are resurrecting those and compiling them into an album for release later this year, I believe.  And we all remember her wonderful "Coat of Many Colors" movie from last Christmas.  It was such a huge hit, and there was so much more of that story to tell, that she has made another movie to follow it for this Christmas season, called "Christmas of Many Colors".   And Dolly herself will be playing a very special part in that movie.  I just cannot wait!!

She finished the show with "I Will Always Love You" which sum up my sentiments about Dolly exactly.  This concert did not disappoint.  On the contrary it was far more than I could have ever expected.  There are still a few dates her concert tour calendar, so if you are lucky enough to find her coming your way, definitely make time to see this show.  You will not regret it, I PROMISE!

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