Last night, I was lucky enough to get an invitation to a closed dress rehearsal for Dolly Parton's upcoming European tour! I took my little girl to see Dolly in concert for the first time. I'm raising my girl right...her first concert was seeing Barry Gibb and her second Dolly! What a great start!
Dolly, as always, looked amazing (for 60!!!), and sounded better than I have heard her in years. She was her same self deprecating, hilarious self, with some of the old familiar jokes: "It sure is a good thing I made a ba-jillion dollars off of Whitney's version of 'I Will Always Love You", because it takes a whole lot of money to make a person look this cheap!"
Musically, the band was right on, with my favorite fiddler, Jimmy Mattingly, back where he belongs after touring with other artists, including Garth. One thing about Dolly's band, is that they always come back to her when she tours again. Her backup singers have been with her for years, and Richard Dennison, the vocal leader, has taken on various roles in her organization since the 70s. They were so sharp, but how could they not be with Jennifer O'Brien and Vicki Hampton rounding out the 3.
The show had some, well, cornball moments--then again, if anybody can get by with an astronomical cheez factor, it's Dolly. However, I would lose the Kenny Rogers dummy, and have Richard sing the duets with her, like he used to. I just couldn't get past that one. The Elvis set was cute, and she made it a great lead in to her biggest hit and finale, by telling the story of how Elvis wanted to and was going to record "I Will Always Love You" until Colonel Tom ruined it by demanding half of Dolly's publishing. Even back then, Dolly's impeccable business acumen steered her right and she refused, scrapping the deal. Of course, she made it funny by joking that Priscilla and Lisa Marie didn't need her money, they were rich enough! LOL!
My daughter says she wished she could give Dolly her phone number and a big 'ol hug. Well, maybe someday! We had a wonderful time, and I'm thankful to my dear friend for thinking of us and putting us "on the list".