Yearwood fills stageBy John Berger
Special to the Star-Bulletin
RUN down the list of things that make a concert perfect and Trisha Yearwood scored high in all areas yesterday at Richardson Field.
Yearwood and a few thousand of her biggest fans had a great time. The 75-minute concert was one of the best shows in any genre this year in Hawaii. Dita Holifield & Detour South were a perfect pick as the opening act.
Yearwood reaffirmed the close ties between rock 'n' roll and pure country as she rocked hard on "That's What I Like About You" and displayed her pop-chart appeal with "How Do I Live" from the "Con Air" soundtrack. She included a little of everything she's done, from her delightful 1991 chart-topping debut, "She's in Love with the Boy," through her current "Real Live Woman" album and a song off of it, "Too Bad You're No Good," that should become another big hit for her.
Yearwood has been touring for months -- Pearl Harbor was the last of 40-plus locations listed on the souvenir T-shirts -- but nothing seemed canned or by-the-numbers. Yearwood looked great in pink and black despite comments about "having a bad hair day."
Her band -- bass, keyboards, drums, and two guitars -- was excellent throughout. The guitarists doubled on other instruments, including fiddle and mandolin, and proved once again that there's no synthetic substitute for real live instruments in country music. Their guitar tech claimed his moment of fame up front, reinforcing the band on "Powerful Thing."
But it was Yearwood's reaction to the hats that really put the show over the top as an afternoon to remember. Many artists seem to be leery of things fans try to give them during a concert, and although we know public figures have to be careful in times like these it's still painful to see a fan toss a lei on stage and watch the intended recipient ignore it.
Yearwood was barely on stage before someone got a lei to her -- she accepted it gracefully and wore it. When other fans threw their hats on stage, she smoothly incorporated them in an impromptu hat show.
"I've never worn so many hats," she exclaimed after wearing -- and then carefully returning -- an assortment of cowboy stetsons, baseball caps and a headwrap. She critiqued most regarding size and style, telling the crowd at one point, "Don't throw it up here unless it's a seven-and-a-quarter." She gave a number of lucky hat-wearing fans with cameras great personalized souvenirs.
Yearwood drew the line at underwear.
"I'm not going to put on everything you throw up here," she said when some clown flung up a large pair of white briefs. The crowd roared with approval when she gingerly carried the Fruit Of The Looms out of the way with her thumb and forefinger and commented that a man would never touch another man's underwear.
Yearwood reaffirmed her versatility and range with her encore material. Many artists leave the stage with some of their biggest hits obviously held back for a "spontaneous" encore. Yearwood closed a solid set with "Do I Live" and then returned with polished remakes of "Midnight Train To Georgia" and John Mellencamp's "Small Town."
Neither was a predictable choice, even though Georgia is the state of her birth. Both were beautifully done and a fine close to an great show.
Opening act Dita Holifield & Detour South reaffirmed Holifield's status as the fore- most country artist on local bar scene.
Many in the crowd were obviously Holifield fans as well, and she didn't disappoint them, despite lackluster work by the concert sound crew.
Holifield featured two songs off her "Anything Goes" album and let guitarist Ellsworth Simeona showcase a song off his upcoming solo album as well.
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