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From the Country Standard Time Archives

Travis takes awhile to warm up

Hollywood Bowl, Hollywood, Cal, Sept. 9, 2000

By Dan MacIntosh

HOLLYWOOD, CA - Looking like a man made of jelly, Randy Travis was obviously uncomfortable as he stepped out beneath the glowing white shell of the Hollywood Bowl on this pleasant September night.

Under the direction of conductor Larry Curtis, the Los Angeles Philharmonic accompanied Travis' own eight-piece band as he opened with a shaky version of the soulful ballad "It's Just A Matter of Time."

This song title was prophetic in an ironic sort of way though, because after only a short while, Travis eventually warmed up to his unfamiliar surroundings.

Travis' version of the old Brook Benton hit came on the heels of three selections performed by the orchestra, which included John Williams' overture from "The Cowboys" soundtrack and a delicate performance of "Shenandoah."

Before intermission, Travis was able to get through five tentative songs. He left without even announcing to the audience that the intermission had now begun, leaving the crowd grumbling and confused.

But when he returned after the short break, he appeared to be regrouped and raring to go.

During the concert's second half, Travis poured life into such hits as "Whisper My Name," "Before You Kill Us All" and "Spirit of A Boy, Wisdom of a Man." In addition to a more relaxed Travis, the sound man had also adjusted the mix to capture Travis' trademark low vocal dips, which were conspicuously absent at the beginning of the concert.

Travis closed his set with "Forever And Ever, Amen," which had he audience singing and swaying right along with him.

He performed just one encore, "Deeper Than the Holler," which left fans cheering for more.

Travis with strings may not be a musical match made in heaven, but the man eventually made the best of a potentially bad situation. Not rock solid by a long stretch, Travis was at least standing much stronger by night's end.