Winnipeg, MAN 2006

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photo by Kent Hart

Tough Chicks deliver big hits for soldout crowd

by Jen Sharpe,
If playing a mean banjo proves you’re still not ready to make nice, let’s hope the Dixie Chicks postpone politeness for just one more night.

Blame it on the banjo or the George Bush fiasco, but those darn Dixies were equal parts sugar and spice Saturday night at the MTS Centre, providing the essential ingredients for a rollicking weekend in downtown Winnipeg.

In front of a sold-out crowd of 12,000 and to the march of “Hail to the Chief,” the Dixie Chicks took to the MTS Centre stage just after 9:00pm and opened up their set with “Lubbock or Leave It” from their newest release Taking the Long Way. The fast-paced, foot-stompin’ tune proved the Chicks’ bluegrass roots are alive, kickin’, and deliciously addictive.

Although the show launched like a fire cracker, sisters Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire, as well as lead singer Natalie Maines, carefully guided their army of musicians through a rolling setlist of soft ballads, sing-along favourites, and (cow)girl-power anthems.

Covering hits “Goodbye Earl” and “Landslide” early in the show, the Dixie Chicks made sure to include plenty of tunes from Taking the Long Way, including the achingly sweet “Lullaby” and first single “Not Ready to Make Nice.”

Dressed in black with accents of leather, silver studs, and punk-y prints, the girls looked more rock star than pop-country starlets. The simple stage was packed with fiddlers, guitarists, and other countrified musicians, but little else, pushing the Chicks front and centre for the adoring audience.

After performing 1998’s career-maker “Wide Open Spaces” followed by the cheeky “Sin Wagon,” Maines, Robinson, and Maguire closed the show with a three-song encore, activating the launch sequence for Show #2 on Sunday night.

The Dixie Chicks’ two MTS Centre shows wrap the first half of their North American Accidents & Accusations Tour; the gals hop the Pacific for a handful of shows in Australia before returning to Canada in late October and closing out the tour in Dallas on December 5th.


A little less country and little more folksy blues, Bob Schneider opened up the show with 30 minutes of groovy, catchy tunes. Challenging Dave Matthews and Jack Johnson for the chill-out crown, Schneider impressed the cowboy-hatted crowd with solid songwriting, super-friendly chit chat, and a soulful—albeit puzzling—rendition of Aretha Franklin’s “You Make Me Feel (Like a Natural Woman).”

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