Chicks Put On A Great D.C. Show
Country music trio rocks MCI Center
by Laura L. Hutchison
The Free Lance-Star
None of the fans at Wednesday night's Dixie Chicks concert in Washington seemed
to care about the recent controversy swirling around lead singer Natalie Maines.
They came to see a great show, and they did.
The Chicks - Maines and sisters Martie Seidel and Emily Robison kept the fans
waiting, not taking the stage until nearly 45 minutes after opening act Michelle Branch had left it. But they were worth the
They blasted a recording of Bruce Springsteens "Born in the U.S.A." before
opening with "Goodbye, Earl", to which the audience members sang along and pumped their fists.
The circular stage, with two areas on the sides that jutted into the audience,
were a perfect setup for the trio, who worked the entire stage, making sure fans in every part of the arena got a good look
Country fans used to stars wearing denim and cowboy boots were in for a surprise
with the Chicks, who sang country, but dressed punk. Maine's outfit was complete with a bizarre hairdo that was a Mohawk without
the shaving. It made her look as though she had a small animal sitting on her head.
But appearances aside, what the Chicks do is entertain, and they did that
for sure. With a song list that included hits from all their albums, including "Wide Open Spaces", "Ready to Run", and their
cover of "Landslide", they kept the crowd singing along with them throughout the performance.
Graphics on the big screens in the arena, as well as on the floor of the stage,
matched well with the songs, as did flowers or grass that magically appeared around the perimeter of the stage for songs such
as "Mississippi" and "Landslide".
What Maines now calls "The Incident", was referred to only briefly. Despite
souvenir T-shirts that read, "Free Natalie", and the sparkling peace symbol that adorned Maines black tank top, she kept things
She landed in hot water in March when she told a London audience that the
group was ashamed President George W. Bush hailed from their home state of Texas.
"Whaddaya know? Washington, D.C.", Maines said, a sheepish grin creeping across
her face. "If I'm not mistaken, I believe the president of the United States lives here."
At that point, a cameraman in the crowd focused on a neon pink sign that read
Natalie for President.
Maines went on to say that the group didn't know the meaning of the song "Truth
No. 2", when they put it on their latest album, "Home". They just liked the song.
"After 'The Incident', it became very clear," Maines said. "Now we understand
every single word."
The song, written by Patty Griffin and appearing on the Home album, includes
lyrics such as, "You dont like the sound of the truth / Coming from my mouth / You say that I lack the proof / Well baby that
might be so / I might get to the end of my line / Find out everyone was lying / I dont think that Im afraid anymore / Say
that I would rather die trying."
Throughout the song, video played of Martin Luther King Jr., suffragettes,
Gandhi and others. Between scenes, words such as truth, freedom, listen, and shut up appeared on the screen.
At one point, the audience saw the word "then", followed by scenes of a book
burning and people marching with Ban the Beatles signs.
Next, the word "now" was displayed, showing a modern book burning, followed
by scenes of people stomping on and smashing Dixie Chicks' CDs.
The final words shown were "Seek the Truth."
The controversy hasn't seemed to hurt the Chicks, who have sold out most of
their tour, called Top of the World 2003.
And it seems, indeed, as though that's where they are.
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