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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Dixie Chicks put out high quality music

Arrowhead Pond, Anaheim, Cal., June 19, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

ANAHEIM, CA It's easy to be skeptical about the success of the Dixie Chicks. These are three good-looking young women, with energy to burn.

Country music has plenty of glamor and energy these days. What it lacks is substance. For every Reba or Womack that comes along, there seem to be three Shania or Faith clones, without much artistic merit underneath all that makeup, charm and twang.

But when a trio this young hits the stage with an accomplished fiddle player on the left, and a real honest-to-goodness banjo player on the right and then proceeds to play sincere country music ranging from bluegrass to honky-tonk it gets harder and harder to find reasons to discount their high quality music.

Nevertheless, when an 'N Sync pre-show video received the loudest cheers from this mostly teenage female audience, it sure didn't feel like the last half hour before a country music concert.

But from song two ("There's Your Trouble"), the Chicks led by the chirpy lead singing of Natalie Maines took control of the stage in front of this sold out arena audience and never looked back.

With "Hello Mr. Heartbreak," they tipped their bonnets to the Bakersfield sound, and "Tonight the Heartache's on Me" they showed they know how to leave a few tears in their beer.

They can also crank it up when they want to, as the did with "Let er Rip," and get down and blues-y, as with Bonnie Raitt's "Give It Up or Let Me Go."

They also had the class to invite opener Patty Griffin to sing with them on her song "Let Him Fly," which also inspired the album's title. This song, as well as a few others, was performed as the group lounged a big red stuffed couch rolled out to center stage for this occasion.

Other props of note included a big buzzing fly balloon, which hovered over the audience before they went on. The stage curtain pointed out another definition for the word fly, as it was designed to look like an old pair of jeans, with a giant zipper straight down the middle.

The Chicks encored with an uninspired version of their controversial hit "Goodbye Earl," before leading a sing-along of "Wide Open Spaces."

Griffin may have been an enigma to this youthful audience, but she nevertheless turned in a moody rocking set which included the sad suicide song "Tony," and a wonderful brand new country tune called "Truth."