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Daniels wears out bows, but music endures

Cerritos Center for the Performing Arts, Cerritos, Cal, December 7, 2017

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

After each of the first few songs Charlie Daniels played, his 'fiddle tech (?)' exchanged his bow. Is this because he was playing particularly hard? Perhaps. Whatever the case, Daniels and his five-piece band clearly appeared to be giving it their all during the act's hour-and-a-half set.

As it is the Christmas month, Daniels sang a couple of Christmas songs. One, the traditional "The Christmas Song," and one Daniels wrote, "Jesus Is the Light of The World." It wasn't a Christmas show, however; just a regular Daniels show with a few Christmas songs worked into the set. The night's best cover, though, was "I Shall Be Released," a Bob Dylan song. Daniels introduced it by telling a story of how his one-day studio fill-in gig on a Dylan album led to participation in three of Dylan's full-lengths. Daniels said he tells this story, not to brag, but to highlight the importance of encouragement. As Daniels was leaving the studio on that first day, Dylan asked his producer where Daniels was going. His producer said he'd already lined up another guitarist, to which Dylan said he wanted Daniels.

No Daniels concert would be complete without his signature song, "The Devil Went Down to Georgia." And even though he's probably performed this morality play more times than he can count, he nevertheless played it with gusto.

A Charlie Daniels concert can sometimes feel like Fox News, the musical, what with all the conservative songs and statements, including the post-9/11 "In America." However, as this concert took place on the date of the Pearl Harbor attack, it somehow seemed perfectly appropriate. Whenever Daniels praised the U.S. military, flag or Jesus, folks stood up to cheer. This was certainly not your typical left-leaning Southern California concert.

Whether you agree with Daniels' conservative politics or not, though, it was difficult to fault the big man on stage wearing out his bows.