As you’re probably aware, mom and I went to see Dolly last night. That’s right, Dolly Parton…at her first concert back in Knoxville in forever.
To say I was excited about the show is an understatement. To say that I was glad my mom was going with me, another understatement. I knew Tanner would have hated it, and I knew that Mom appreciates Dolly as much as I do. So I was looking forward to a great night!
Mom picked me up at 5:45 and we visited for a bit at the house and then headed to campus. I’d gotten an email that said “There is no opening act for Dolly’s show. We suggest you show up early so as to allow ample time to find parking and get into your seat.” So we got there at about twenty minutes to seven. They didn’t open the doors to the arena until a little after 7pm anyway, but since the weather was nice, we didn’t mind standing outside.
Once we got inside, we stopped to get some drinks and popcorn to share. We made a pass by the merchandise but I decided I didn’t need to spend an additional $35 on a t-shirt with Dolly’s face on it as I am already in a PayPal dispute with her website over the $30 shirt I originally bought to wear to the concert but never got. So we made our way to our seats.
Mom decided she wanted a Sprite instead of the water we’d bought so I offered to go get it for her. On my way back to the seats, I stopped by the merchandise table again. I saw they had koozies for a pretty reasonable price so I got one for both me and mom and then I couldn’t help myself so I bought a shot glass too and then a cook book!
Side Note: All of the proceeds from the cookbook I bought, will be donated to Imagination Library, which promotes childhood literacy. The book features more than 125 recipes, including many from Dolly’s personal collection of Southern specialties—like her popular banana pudding. Other recipes were passed down to Dolly from her late mother, Avie Lee Parton, as well as several from her mother-in-law, “Mama” (Ginny) Dean. It also includes recipes from DollyWood, Dolly Parton’s Dixie Stampede Dinner and Show and recipes for dishes from many of her favorite restaurants discovered during more than 40 years of touring.
I waited forever at the merchandise table and some pretty hateful Dolly fans were taking FOREVER to get what they wanted (they didn’t know even though they had been waiting at the table FOREVER and still wanted to look at sizes of EVERY shirt that was on display). I already knew what I wanted (two koozies) and had made my way up to stand beside a guy in one of the new Polo shirts with the big horses on it. So I was chatting with him and asked if he knew what he wanted. He said, “Oh yes, I’m getting the cookbook and the $5 photo!” I said, “There’s a COOKBOOK?!” He said, “Oh yes, it’s supposed to be amazing!” So of course I said, “I want a cookbook, too!” He said, “Well if there is only one left, I get it!” I said, “Deal!”
So as I’m getting the cookbook and the koozies (the last two in the booth), I hear someone else ask for a shot glass and decide I need one of those too! $40 later I’m heading back up to my seats with my new stuff and mom’s drink. As I’m coming back up the stairs to our seats, I took a pretty big tumble and slammed my knee on one of the stairs. It hurt bad enough to kind of knock the breath out of me, but I made my way back to our seats where I found my mom standing to tell me we had to move a section down because the lady had seated us wrong!
No biggie, we moved seats and were pretty happy. So the show started and we were both tickled pink! A few minutes after the show started, I realized I didn’t have my card. Dummy me had left it at the merchandise table as I left in such an excitement with all my loot. So I had to go back down and get it. Luckily, they still had it and even checked my ID before they handed it back to me.
After that, I was pretty much set to enjoy the rest of the show. It was amazing! Just Uh-May-Zing!
She played so many instruments! She started with a regular guitar, then throughout the night played the Indian flute, the dulcimer, the electric harp, the electric guitar, a sparkling gold piano, the saxophone, banjo and harmonica! She was so good at it all.
When she played this, she told the story about her mother and how her momma made this coat that she thought was so beautiful because it was made with love. When she wore it to school, all the kids made fun of her ugly jacket. Even though my coat of many colors that my Nana made me was just for a school project, and even though it isn’t the most beautiful coat in the world, I know she made it with love and worked hard on it so that it would be perfect for my project. I still have that coat even though it was just for a school project.
When Dolly played this song, it brought tears to my eyes. I got pretty emotional. Also, she spoke so highly of her parents and how much love they had for her and their family. It made me think of all my mom has done for me and how my grandfather was always by my side.
Dolly was just amazing. I’ve got some videos to upload of some of her stuff, but she was just totally awesome!
She only made one costume change from the original orange and white outfit she was in, but when she came back out from the intermission, she was wearing this pretty red outfit.
As we were leaving, I asked mom is she thought Pop would have wanted to see that if he were still here and able to do so. I think he would have and I think he would have loved it. Some of my best memories with him (aside from all the great birthdays) are of when he took me to DollyWood to see a show and I would beg and beg and beg him to ride rides with me too. He never wanted to but he sometimes would if I begged hard enough.
It was just really great to see a concert where the performer was the show. It wasn’t about her dancing or her circus-like stage presence, it was just Dolly singing great songs and playing every instrument. She did cover songs and did her own songs (oldies and new ones) and she talked a lot about life and where she was from.
She’s just a classic performer with a true Southern heart. She said at one point in the concert when she literally tried to rap as she was talking about a movie she has coming out in the winter with Queen Latifa. As she was doing it she said, “‘I don’t hip and I don’t hop…I’d black both eyes with this here top!” (That was part of her rap :).) Pretty funny! After her rap finished up, Dolly said, “Rap combined with country is crap!” My Pop used to say that, too, except it was rap is one letter away from crap because he hated the music that didn’t stand for anything.
She’s so funny and personable throughout her performances, addressing fans when they yell out they love her. She even spotted this little girl in the floor seats that was all dressed up in a little dress from DollyWood and a curly blond wig and she told her how pretty she was and then waved to her as they left (it was past the little girl’s bedtime)! You just don’t see that very often anymore. A true musician with amazing talent who knows what she’s good at and does it well.
PLUS, all the proceeds from merchandise last night went to support Imagination Library.
She closed the show with “I Will Always Love You” and it was beautiful. She had said earlier in the show (as she was covering some other songs), “As an artist, you love to cover music you love and you don’t mind much when other people screw up your songs. And that’s true, I don’t mind when other people screw up my songs when they sing them…like Whitney, I cry all the way to the bank every time she sings my song!”
Gotta love Dolly. My fandom is totally renewed and I am probably going to buy her biography next week! Also, if anyone knows what she does to stay in shape (Jesus, she’s in her sixties and was bee-boppin around the stage with no trouble at all IN.FIVE.INCH.HEELS. no less! She’s just amazing!
Check back if you’re interested…I might have videos to upload! (I’m still trying to figure that out!) 🙂