The Queen of Country and Western rode into town to perform in front of thousands of adoring fans on Friday night.
Dolly Parton has been a household name all over the world for as long as I can remember, and at 68 years old she can put younger artists and bands to shame with her energy, enthusiasm and showmanship on stage.
To see Dolly perform hits like Jolene, 9 to 5, Islands In The Stream, and songs from her new album Blue Smoke, is pretty much a once in a lifetime opportunity so when we were asked to watch her show we simply couldn’t say no.
Throughout her two and a half hours on stage, even with technical difficulties in the first half of the show and the sound cutting out halfway through a track, Dolly showed Leeds just how talented and professional she really is, and has been for decades.
Being one of the best singers/songwriters to have ever graced the world, Dolly also had a box of tricks up her sleeve on the night; I say box of tricks, it was actually a box of instruments including a dulcimer, a fiddle, and a baby saxophone amongst other weird and wonderful musical delights. Dolly covered Boots Randolph’s ‘Yakety Sax’ (better known as the Benny Hill theme), and just proved why this singer/multi instrumentalist really is still one of the best around.
Between songs, Dolly fondly recalled memories of her life though out the show, delving in to how and why some of her songs were written, and how she was heavily influenced and inspired by her parents, siblings and their way of life growing up in the mountains of Tennessee. From heart breaking stories of growing up in poverty to the happiest of childhood memories trying to catch boys that weren’t ‘kin folk’ in her words, you couldn’t help but walk away from the show having had some what of a personal experience with Dolly.
For her finale, she performed one of the greatest love songs that has ever been written, sadly not really recognised until a cover version was released as a movie sound track back in the 90s. To end a show with Dolly Parton singing ‘I Will Always Love You’ is something that I don’t think I will ever forget, and certainly is something I never thought I would get the chance to experience in the flesh. I can’t speak for everyone who was there in that sea of pink and rhinestone Stetsons, but I feel as if I personally connected with her as she commanded my complete and utter attention throughout the evening, and made me walk away from the First Direct Arena smiling and believing that I had literally just seen one of the greatest performances that I will ever see in my life.