6424 cowboys and cowgirls went to Cowboy Town Sunday night at the Toyota Pavilion and it was a good journey. The Brooks and Dunn show drove into town, circled the wagons and showed off what 18 years of performing together can do.
It was smooth and polished and if the song list was a little bit predictable the enthusiasm of the small crowd made up for it. Hitting the super sophisticated stage just before 9pm the duo roared into the title track from their new release “Cowboy Town” and kept up a fast pace for the next 75 minutes. 3 background singers and a crackerjack 7 piece band put 12 people on the stage which should be counted as a 13th performer, with it’s monolithic backdrop video screens showing dazzling animations and crowd shots.
This is not your Grandfathers country music show so maybe the relentless promotions of Toyota Tundra trucks can be forgiven. Costs a lot to put on this sort of spectacle. Just before the show started a short, comical video featured both performers with the Toyota truck and a variation of the old Farmer’s Daughter joke.
During the show both performers seemed to have a penchant for throwing things at the audience. Kix Brooks started it with a handheld air cannon booting out tightly wrapped t-shirt bombs during the third song “Rock My world”. Later on Ronnie Dunn would throw out drumstick after drumstick in between licks on a cowbell during “Mama don’t get dressed up for nothing.” Both tossed out buckets of guitar picks but the biggest shots fired at the crowd came during the stirring rendition of “Only in America.”
Its no surprise to see a country performer wrap themselves in the red white and blue but Brooks and Dunn wrapped the first 50 rows with patriotic bunting courtesy of a dozen air cannons. The four servicemen in uniform standing at attention at the front of the stage was a nice touch as well.
Halfway through the show the pair sat on stools and did a short semi-acoustic set. It was just before the Roger Miller cover “Husbands and Wives” that Dunn remarked on 18 years of Brooks and Dunn shows. Few show biz partnerships have lasted as long or as well as this pair. Unlike Simon and Garfunkel both Brooks and Dunn bring something to the marriage. Few voices in country music and maybe in pop music period are as smooth and rich as Ronnie Dunn’s and what Kix Brooks lacks in vocal talent is made up for with his high energy stage presence and effortless rapport with the audience. Pulling an obviously thrilled young lady from the crowd he hugged her and spun her around lifting her feet from the stage. She’s probably still dizzy.
The show concluded with an up-tempo “My Maria” which had the crowd on its feet including the senior citizen who leaped from her seat behind me and danced like a 16 year old. The encore brought “Brand New Man” and the expected “Boot Scooting Boogie.” James Otto and Randy Atkins opened the show.
ED Note: This conceert review published in the Weekender Summer 2009