When imaging a live Dwight Yoakam performance, I immediately picture an old honky tonk bar, maybe a little smokey, wood floors and maybe about thirty people or so, sitting around tables and the bar. People aren’t necessarily there for the show, but Dwight’s vocals and lyrics are there for the people. Whether it be a long day at work, troubles of life in general or any other bothersome situation one could find themselves in, the honky tonk and Dwight are there to help them forget. In this image, it’s also around 1988.
This however, was NOT the case this past Thursday night at the Hard Rock Rocksino in Northfields, OH. Dwight Yoakam fans PACKED the concert hall of the casino just outside of Cleveland for what may easily be a, if not, THE top contender for BORN Country’s concert of the year in 2016! (Yes, I know we still have a long way to go!).
This would be my second time seeing Dwight Yoakam perform live. The first, being his opening stint for Eric Church in October of 2014. I was very excited to finally experience Dwight as the headliner, being that I knew he would pull out all the stops.
Dwight opened his set with “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke” and as one would imagine, the crowd lit up immediately! Folks of all sorts were standing and dancing along with 30+ year veteran of the country music genre. The setlist covered everything from classic Dwight in “Honky Tonk Man” and “Guitars, Cadillacs” to top tracks from his latest album, Second Hand Heart, in the likes of the title track and “Liar.”
What makes Dwight’s live show extra special (outside of the ladies’ love for his choice in denim jeans,) is that he puts time in to pay tribute to those artists who inspired his own career and sound. Multiple Elvis Presley songs (“Little Sister,” “Suspicious Minds”), Johnny Cash (“Ring Of Fire”) and of course, the legendary Buck Owens (“Streets Of Bakersfield”).
Though there will always be favorites that an artist doesn’t get to perform in a particular night (“Pocket Of A Clown,” “I Sang Dixie”), some performances are made even better when leaving us wanting more. Dwight wrapped up his main set with “Fast As You,” a track that I have been singing along with since my childhood. Now THAT song gets the crowd moving!
After what seemed like an eternity of chanting and clapping for an encore, Dwight and band returned to perform three more tracks. Tribute was paid to the recently passed Glenn Frey of Eagles, in a performance of “Peaceful Easy Feeling.” “I Feel Fine” by The Beatles followed that up and the show closed out with “Suspicious Minds.”
Being my second time seeing Dwight Yoakam’s live show, he has officially found a home on my list of artists to see every time they pass through town. If you have experienced the performance, you likely feel the same way. If you have yet to see this incredible talent live, remedy that as soon as he come through your area! You’ll feel the same way!