Tuesday, August 2, 2011

The Life List: See Dolly Parton in concert.

On Sunday night, two petite blonde superstars performed in/near D.C. One of them was Britney Spears. The other was, in all ways, the anti-Britney.

See Dolly Parton in concert. Check.

As an Appalachian girl, I grew up with an appreciation for the force of nature that is Dolly Parton. I went to Dollywood. I sang "9 to 5" with my high-school girlfriends. I defended her to those who made fun of her hair and, um, unusual physique (not that I need to--she makes plenty of fun of herself). Because the truth is that behind the Botox and under the bleached bouffant is a funny, kind, generous, brilliant woman who has written and sung some amazing songs. Dolly IS east Tennessee, and when you're from there, it's second nature to defend her with everything you have.

I went with three friends, all fellow Appalachia natives, to see her last night at Wolf Trap. We took an old quilt and a picnic. The stars were out, a light breeze kept the hot summer night comfortable, and an incredibly diverse crowd filled every available seat and spot of grass in the 7,000+ capacity venue.

Dolly performed for 2.5 hours. "This sounds like home!" my friend Shelley cried, as the first bars of the first song started. Dolly played all her old favorites, songs from her new album, and some excellent covers. She, rather awesomely, rapped. She played nine, yes nine, instruments (fiddle, guitar, banjo, auto harp, dulcimer, recorder, piano, harmonica, and, to our great surprise, saxophone). She had every last person in the crowd eating out of the palm of her hand.

It was unforgettable. She is unforgettable.

If you can forgive the shakiness, this version of "Coat of Many Colors" was recorded at the show I saw. Song starts at about 0:30.