This past week music legends Loretta Lynn and Merle Haggard wowed country music fans during their two night stint in Milwaukee!! Make sure to check out the concert review with pictures to find out what songs were performed.
By Donna Stroup Country Stars Central
“The Hag Shines at Northern Lights Theater”
Legendary music icon Merle Haggard appeared at the Potawatomi Bingo Casino’s Northern Lights Theater for a two night stint on July 14th and 15th 2009. The show began at 9:30pm with an opening set by up and coming duo the Malpass Brothers. The two brothers Chris and Taylor encompass the traditional country music style. Their two song performance delighted the audience as they anxiously awaited Merle.
Taking the stage at 9:45pm Merle greeted his audience while the houselights illuminated around him. Wearing a brown suede jacket adorned with fringe complete with purple sunglasses and a black hat, Merle mesmerized the attentive audience with his slick demeanor.
Before the concert even began, Merle received a standing ovation from his loyal and loving fans. He was accompanied by a nine piece band which consisted of a sax player, keyboards, drums, steel guitar, fiddle, and electric guitars.
Merle kicked off the show with “Workin’ Man Blues,” “Going Where The Lonely Go,” and “I Think I’ll Just Stay Here and Drink.” He then addressed the audience by saying, “Thank you very much. It’s great to be here this evening. Did you enjoy Loretta?” The audience replied to his statement with rich applause.
The entire show was filled with nonstop humor and clever quips directed towards the audience. For instance, the introduction found Merle asking the audience, “Can you drink here or do you have to slip it in?” The offhanded question created a stir and much laughter.
Being a veteran performer, Merle shared all of his well loved classics such as “That’s The Way Love Goes,” “Today I Started Loving You Again,” “Twinkle, Twinkle Lucky Star,” “Okie From Muskogee,” “Big City,” “Mama Tried,” and “Are The Good Times Really Over” while the star struck listeners devoured each moment.
One of the many special treats for the audience was the appearance of Merle’s youngest son Benny who plays on the Fender electric guitar for his father. At just 16 years old, Benny wowed the audience with his skills as an accomplished guitarist. It is very touching to see father and son perform together onstage sharing a musical bond between each other. Merle could be heard proudly exclaiming, “Play it son.”
As the evening progressed Merle emerged from his glasses and hat. For the rest of the concert, the audience was allowed to witness his beautiful blue eyes and thick silver hair. At 72 years young, with numerous trials and tribulations behind him Merle still has the chops and the looks.
Another highlight of the evening was when Merle surprised the audience by picking up a bright red fiddle. He shared with the audience, “I don’t know what this is going to sound like but we’re going to try it anyway.” His fiddle solo proved to be a show stopping, hand clapping good time. (YEE-HAW!!)
As the show came to its finale, Merle relayed to the audience, “This next song is going to be for all the folks that fight all over the world, so we can be here tonight.” Patriotism was felt and heard as loud whistles and cheers resonated. The song that Merle dedicated to the men and women, “Fightin’ Side Of Me” was greatly received.
The almost 2 hour concert was a rare opportunity to see this one of a kind outlaw up close and personal in the beautifully intimate candlelit theater. Before leaving the stage, Merle graciously took several bows, waved to the crowd, and found the audience wishing for more. The concert ended at 11:10pm.
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