Adelaide, Australia 2006

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Dixie Chicks storm Adelaide

by Jill Pengally for The Advertiser

They are a formidable force with a mischievous sense of humour.

The Dixie Chicks stormed the stage at the Entertainment Centre last night to the strains of Hail to the Chief a cheeky reference to the strife they've copped since criticising their president, George W. Bush.

They're not ready to make nice, not ready to back down and still mad as hell.

Eminently more than just three cute Texas gals, the Chicks are the biggest-selling female group, of any genre, in history.

That success has carried them through the tempestuous backlash of the past three years, with American patriots smashing their CDs and radio stations refusing them airplay.

Last night, they were clearly among friends.

For two hours, to cheers and ovations, they journeyed through hits, including the fiery Not Ready to Make Nice, which vents their anger at the hate and condemnation they suffered after lead singer Natalie Maines said she was ashamed the President was a Texan. There was also plenty of the early stuff, including 1998 title track Wide Open Spaces, from back when they were only famous for their exceptional talent.

From country pop, to rock, to folk, to bluegrass and ballads and the instrumentals of sisters Emily Robison and Martie Maguire were superb.

With a tight nine-piece backing band and a barrage of hits, the trio kept the near-capacity crowd in tow and singing along. They're hard-headed, high-heeled, enormously skilled and more popular than Dubya, if the ovations are anything to go by.

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