Dolly Shines

Here’s the thing – I can’t seem to take Tracey anywhere without her causing trouble.Now we didn’t go to the concert because I love Dolly Parton, we went because I love Tracey and Tracey loves Dolly Parton.That said, I have to say – Dolly is amazing! She’s 65 and she’s a ball of energy. My dad is her age and walking seems beyond him somedays. Dolly was all over the stage, wiggling her hips and shimmying up a storm.Going into the concert I had a few songs of Dolly’s which I enjoy listening to. You know, the usual ones – Jolene, Here You Come Again, Coat of Many Colours and 9to5. My favourite Dolly song is her awesome cover of Collective Soul’s Shine. It’s bluegrassy and, despite not being a bluegrass fan, it speaks to me. I’m more a fan of Dolly’s movies – I even loved Straight Talk!

For the record, in the past I have been vocal in my dismissive view of country music. I’d go to the Gympie Muster, but insist it was just for the beer and to volunteer at different stalls. I suspect this poor view of country was strongly influenced by a bloke in my boarding school dormitory who played nauseating amounts of Slim Dusty. You see I think music is food for the soul, and while I enjoy a McDonald’s cheeseburger if I try survive on a diet of nothing else pretty soon the thought of one more is going to make me puke.

Over the years, however, the odd artist or song has started to chip away at my country music prejudice – Fire & Rain (James Taylor), Wide Open Spaces (Dixie Chicks), Standing Outside The Fire (Garth Brooks), The Devil Went Down To Georgia (Charlie Daniels Band), and Horse With No Name (America). Plus I love Kenny Rogers, Glen Campbell and Shania Twain. But don’t tell anyone about Ms Twain or I could die of embarrassment. Plus, I swear I’m straight – that’ll seem more pertinent shortly.

No paired seats available? Hmmm….
could  it be I embarrass you Tracey?

So I was going into Dolly less than overflowing with enthusiasm. Like I say, I was there because of Tracey. Due to some procrastination when buying the tickets Tracey and I ended up enjoying the concert from different rows in the Boondall Entertainment Centre. At least I think the late purchasing of tickets was why she wasn’t sitting next me. I’m a little too frightened to ask too many questions about it in case I don’t like the answers. Still, we could pass drinks, popcorn and our binoculars.

Unfortunately, as it turns out, what I couldn’t do from where I was sitting was to tell Tracey to put her video camera away. But it’s okay because the usher took care of that for me. He balanced precariously along the terraced seating, past a dozen other patrons, to point a torch at Tracey and demand she turn the camera off. He then went on to demand my 7 month preggers wife shuffle back along the row of patrons, in the near dark, to the walkway and out of the hall.

By the time I shuffled along my row of concert-goers (giving a number of the women pause to think perhaps they should have gone with steel caps instead of open toed shoes) to find out what was happening, she wasn’t anywhere to be seen. Nor was the usher who she’d followed. I asked another usher at the door where my wife was and he pointed to the unisex toilet and told me she was in there. I repeated my question because the idea my wife had been dragged out of the concert and into the toilet by an usher seemed like such a bizarre idea I couldn’t quite get my head around it, but he assured me she was in there.

Five minutes later, to the relief of my overactive imagination, Tracey failed to emerge from the toilet and instead came back from the direction of the front entrance, and more specifically the cloak room, where she’d been told to surrender her camera.

We again did our circus act along our respective rows of increasingly frustrated Dolly fans and found our seats.

After this, for a couple of songs I was a little preoccupied. I began to count all the video cameras I could see around the stadium – all obvious with their glowing screens. Not that I had to look far. The usherdude had to shuffle past two other people videoing the event to get to Tracey, but maybe it was some sort of crackdown on pregnant women. They’re probably shitty two people are essentially getting in for the one ticket price.

I’m all for him telling Tracey to turn the camera off. Afterall I heard the announcement before the concert about not filming the event. It’s a rule they’ve stated quite clearly. But no law was broken. And for that my 7 month pregnant wife and our unborn child were put in jeopardy. Seriously, the girl at the end of my row told me during interval a guy stumbled and fell into the next row at the beginning of the show – and that was with the lights on!

At intermission I admonished Tracey for her getting pulled out of class and sent to the office. I mean what sort of example is she setting for our unborn child?!

Speaking of intermission, I did notice this particular usher wasn’t anywhere to be seen at this point (and I was looking). What I did see was a lady complaining bitterly to an usher about the man she was sitting next to, who was apparently singing very, very loudly to all the songs, but not using the right words. After making sure she didn’t look like the lady who was sitting on my right I moved on.

Not much has changed at the Boondall Entertainment Centre over the years. Interval is still a nightmare. The big problem seems to be toilets, especially if you’re a woman. The line was thirty deep outside the ladies when I tottled off for a tinkle myself. Not surprisingly then, there were a couple of women ducking into the men’s loos to take advantage of the unused cubicles. It’s always a bit funny when a women ducks in to use the men’s loos, but I do wonder if it would be so funny the other way around. Why Boondall hasn’t fixed this problem is beyond me. Not enough female loos would effect sales of food and drink, firstly because women lined up at the toilets aren’t lined up at the bar or canteen, and secondly because I imagine after you’ve nearly peed yourself you’re a little more cautious about how much you drink going back into the concert. Thing is while standing over the loo lollies I felt I had to keep looking over my shoulder, although perhaps I was looking over the wrong shoulder.

You know who are big fans of Dolly? Gay men, it seems. I didn’t realize how many gay men were at the concert until I went to the toilets. Then I couldn’t help but notice them. You don’t want to know what some gay men get up to in the toilets, but suffice to say the doubling up of patrons in stalls probably accounts for the smaller lines at the men’s toilets. And you know what? I don’t care. Just make sure that door stays firmly shut please.

What I didn’t realize was how many of Dolly’s songs I knew and enjoyed but didn’t know she sung – I Will Always Love You, Baby I’m Burning, Why’d You Come In Here Lookin’ Like That. And I have a couple of new (old) loves which really showed off how truly incredible this old gal’s voice is – Little Sparrow and I’m Gonna Miss You. I don’t think she hit a bad note the whole night.

A quick Wiki-search revealed just how many songs and albums Dolly has put out in her career. I’ve come away with a real appreciation of this incredible woman and her songwriting skills. She guesstimates she’s penned over 3000 songs and rarely goes a day without writing something, whether it’s a thought or a song.

So while Bootleg Tracey went into Dolly bursting with excitement, but both of us came out thrilled to have been a part of Dolly’s Better Days Tour. And while I could have done without the show in the toilets, personally, I’m in awe and in love with Dolly Parton and her music. It’s no wonder she’s got such big hair, there is a big personality and a big voice for it to sit atop of.

Even with Tracey causing a scandal with attempting to make a pirate copy of the concert, I’m so glad I went and experienced Dolly’s down-home brand of music and banter.

And for all you sceptics out there, let me assure you Dolly is still a huge hit. Actually they both are.

Some interesting Dolly trivia I’ve discovered –

  • Here You Come Again wasn’t written by Dolly. It was penned by Barry Penn & Cynthia Weil, and is part of their impressive stable of hits including You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin‘(The Righteous Brothers), We Gotta Get Out Of This Place (The Animals) and On Broadway (The Drifters).
  • Elvis was keen to record I Will Always Love You, but Dolly refused to sign over half the publishing rights, which The Colonel insisted on for any song Elvis recorded.
  • As many of us have suspected, they’re NOT real!! She confirmed it last night to the packed out stadium. She said there’s just no way her nails could look that good without acrylic.

What do you think?

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