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Photo by Marc Bence, Edmonton Journal

Dixie Chicks support for Oilers has Rexall rockin'

Other Dallas stars wade into reffing controversy as they thrill sellout crowd

By Sandra Sperounes for the Edmonton Journal

Mick McGeough, the Dixie Chicks don't like you.

The Texas country trio are no strangers to controversy -- and they waded into another one at Rexall Place on Saturday night.

Namely, referee McGeough's botched call, which resulted in the Edmonton Oilers losing to the Dallas Stars on Friday.

"I was going to say 'I'm ashamed the referees were from Texas,' but they weren't," smiled vocalist Natalie Maines, paraphrasing the words that landed her in trouble with so many George W. Bush supporters in 2003.

"Y'all were robbed! Send the referees to Texas!"

Luckily, she won't be fined by the NHL for her remarks. Maines might alienate a few refs, Stars and their fans, but Edmonton loves her all the more.

Fourteen thousand fans -- a sellout -- went wild as she offered her sympathies about half an hour into their set.

Then again, Maines had them eating out of her wings as soon as she and her sister Chicks -- Emily Robison and Martie Maguire -- appeared on stage to the rousing strains of the President's usual entrance theme, Hail to the Chief.

Talk about cheeky.

Talk about politics was, by and large, kept to a minimum -- though an ad for their upcoming documentary, Shut Up & Sing, was played on a video screen before their set.

Maines made one or two mild references to her president and our prime minister, but otherwise stayed true to the title of the flick and let the trio's country, rock and bluegrass songs -- including Cowboy Take Me Away, and their sumptious cover of Landslide-- do most of the work.

The Chicks, and their stellar nine-piece band, opened with Lubbock or Leave It, a rockin' number with a honky-tonk piano, cello, violin and backup vocals provided by Robison and Maguire.

(For a band with such lovely harmonies, it's ironic the Chicks are the cause of so much dissension, no?)

Truth No. 2, a country ditty, was next, featuring Robison on banjo and Maguire on fiddle. "Sing me something brave from your mouth," sang Maines.

Bravery, of course, was one of the main themes of the night, touched upon in songs such as Everybody Knows, a country-rock song about "stepping out," and Goodbye Earl, which tells the story of a woman who ends up killing her abusive husband.

Rexall filled with the voices of female fans as the Dixie Chicks belted out the words to their hit.

A few men, including a guy in a Hawaiian-style shirt, were also seen belting out the lyrics at the top of their lungs. He was even spotted by the Chicks. Apparently, he appears in Shut Up & Sing, which follows the trio in the wake of their comments about Bush three years.

"You have a starring role," said Maines as the gentleman waved to her.

It opens in theatres Nov. 10.

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