LIVE: Dolly Parton @ Tanglewood, 6/17/16
Review by Greg Haymes
Photograph by Hilary Scott
American music icon Dolly Parton took over stage of the Koussevitzky Music Shed on Friday evening to kick off the summer season at Tanglewood in Lenox. And it would be an understatement to say that she set the “sparkle factor” mighty high for the rest of the summer’s performers.
“I never leave a rhinestone unturned,” she told the adoring audience more than once.
It seemed as though there was nary an inch of her costuming that wasn’t covered in rhinestones or sequins, and she reflected the spotlight like some sort of soprano mirror-ball as she strutted back and forth across the stage, singing, telling stories, playing a variety of musical instruments and cracking jokes for more nearly two and a half hours.
But that was just what was on the surface. If you could look beyond her penchant for all things shiny… If you could forget about all of her jokes about her wigs and bra size, then her deep and rich musical talent sparkled brighter than any of the rhinestones that adorned her fiddle, banjo, guitar, autoharp, grand piano, saxophone and, yes, even her dulcimer.
Backed by a simple three-piece band – keyboardist Richard Dennison, bassist/banjoman Tom Rutledge and bandleader/guitarist Kent Wells, along with a slightly intrusive but never really annoying drum machine – the 70-year-old Parton sang flawlessly throughout the show, even on such over-ripe material as Don McLean’s “American Pie” and the bluegrass warhorse “Rocky Top.”
And when she dug into such first-rate tunes as her own “Jolene” (a delicate balance of pleading and defiance), the traditional murder ballad “The Banks of the Ohio” (sung as a duet with Dennison), “The Grass Is Blue” (her solo turn at the grand piano) and the gospel-infused medley of “The Seeker” and “I’ll Fly Away” (the first set closer), she simply soared.
Her selections spanned her entire career from her nostalgic childhood (“Coat of Many Colors”) to her country/pop crossover hits (“Here You Come Again,” “Islands in the Stream”) to a sneak peek at tunes from her upcoming new album (“Pure & Simple,” “Outside Your Door”).
And, yes, she encored with “I Will Always Love You.” And, yes, it was magnificent…
Reprinted with the permission of The Times Union…
DOLLY PARTON SET LIST
Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That
Pure & Simple
Precious Memories (John Wright)
Coat of Many Colors
Rocky Top > Yakety Sax
Banks of the Ohio (traditional)
“A Piece of American Pie” Medley: American Pie > If I Had a Hammer > Blowin’ in the Wind > Dust in the Wind > The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down
The Seeker > I’ll Fly Away
Baby, I’m Burning
Outside Your Door
The Grass Is Blue
Those Memories of You
Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
Two Doors Down
Here You Come Again
Islands in the Stream (Bee Gees)
9 to 5
I Will Always Love You
Hello God > He’s Alive