Other than supporting the Eagles on a 2010 stadium tour, the Dixie Chicks haven’t taken flight as headliners through Chicagoland for exactly a decade, and while they may not have new material to tout, the political season is ripe for the picking. But contrary to grossly exaggerated click bait, only two moments of the more than two hour “DCX MMXVI” outing at a completely packed Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre had to do with the upcoming election season.
Now more than ever, the Dixie Chicks are well beyond the confines of commercial country radio, and as they unfurled the older, bluegrass-tinted gems “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Wide Open Spaces” and “Sin Wagon,” they also hearkened back to a much more meaningful era that tipped its hat to tradition before the bros took over.
For starters, the anti-domestic abuse anthem turned murderous parody “Goodbye Earl” was accompanied by photos of many infamous men racing across the screen, and a few frames after O.J. Simpson, a defaced Donald Trump picture popped up for about a millisecond. Then during “Ready To Run,” the video wall featured all the candidates as caricatures donning boxing gloves and duking it out on the road to the White House, a genuinely humorous (and surprisingly neutral) satire that culminated in a hurricane of confetti.
Other than that, the focus was exclusively on the music, particularly the trio’s talents as singers, songwriters and multi-instrumentalists that have since yielded 13 Grammy Awards and status as the best-selling female band in American history. And even if it’s been a minute since singer/guitarist Natalie Maines, banjo/dobro/guitar player Emily Robison and fiddle/mandolin player Martie Maguire took a lengthy road trip together, their harmony-heavy chemistry remained intact throughout more than two dozen tunes, perhaps most fittingly, “Long Time Gone.”
To make up for the lack of a current collection, the group instead turned to several covers, including a touching tribute to Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U” (in the style of Sinead O’Connor) as his “Love Symbol” and purple lights lit up the backdrop. There was also a lot of Patty Griffin (including the witty new tune “Don’t Let Me Die In Florida”), a nod to Beyoncé’s southern explorations on “Daddy Lessons” and Fleetwood Mac’s transcendent “Landslide,” all unified by the trio’s glowing harmonies and their backers’ organic instrumentation.
Now more than ever, the Dixie Chicks are well beyond the confines of commercial country radio, and as they unfurled the older, bluegrass-tinted gems “Cowboy Take Me Away,” “Wide Open Spaces” and “Sin Wagon,” they also hearkened back to a much more meaningful era that tipped its hat to tradition before the bros took over. For an encore of “Not Ready To Make Nice,” the ladies further soared with their eloquent address of “The Incident,” pleading to not be killed for comments that were taken out of context and picking right back up where they left off on “Top Of The World,” regardless of the political buttons they pushed.
For additional information on the Dixie Chicks, visit DixieChicks.com.
Upcoming concert highlights at Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre include Florence + The Machine with Of Monsters & Men (June 12); 101WKQX PIQNIQ featuring Garbage, The Lumineers and more (June 18); Jimmy Buffett with Huey Lewis & The News (June 25); Def Leppard with REO Speedwagon and Tesla (July 2); Brantley Gilbert (July 9); Weezer and Panic! At The Disco (July 10); Hall & Oates (July 22); Vans Warped Tour (July 23); Miranda Lambert (July 29) and 5 Seconds Of Summer (July 30). For additional details, visit LiveNation.com.