Dixieland delight: Alabama returns to California Mid-State Fair after 18 years
Note: As part of The Tribune’s coverage of the 2012 California Mid-State Fair, we’re running a series of concert reviews. Below, Tribune staffer Emily Ula gives her take on Friday’s Alabama concert.
A multi-generational crowd swooned over the classic country sounds of Alabama
on Friday, swaying with cigarette lighters and glowing iPhones long into the night. The
neighborly chatter that filled the Chumash Grandstand Arena turned to gusto as soon as the first fiddle started strumming.
While the opening act, Whisky Row, played to a smaller and less vocal crowd, excited fans filled the grandstand for the main event, anxious for some good old country fun.
A warm greeting from lead vocalist Randy Owen kicked off the evening: “We came here tonight to have a party with y’all!”
Alabama released its latest album in 2004 before taking a seven-year break from touring. Despite that hiatus, the Southern rock trio’s performance on Friday was fresh and vibrant.
The band played classic songs from their heyday, including “Mountain Music,” “Song of the South” and “Dixieland Delight” as well as some lesser-known tunes such as “She and I.”
Concertgoers seemed to identify most with patriotic songs such as “Born Country”
and “High Cotton.”
Owen’s pride for his own modest upbringing was enough to convince the California youth in the crowd that they, too, had been raised planting and picking cotton — although, in truth, some of Alabama’s more seasoned fans may have endured such hardships.
“Now I’m proud to be wearing cotton,” Owen shouted as he stood on stage in a plain black t-shirt and jeans. His recognition of military personnel and shout-outs to domestic brands like GMC, Ford and Chevy also resonated with the crowd.
Central Coast fans were pleased to hear that Alabama is not officially retired as had been
“We haven’t been here for 18 years, but I hope it won’t be that long before we come back,“ Owen said.
The Country Music Hall of Fame members recently made it back into the media spotlight thanks to Brad Paisley’s tribute song “Old Alabama.” Hints have been dropped that a new album will be released to complement their comeback tour.
After an energetic encore of “Dancin’, Shaggin’ On The Boulevard,” the crowd twirled and two-stepped their way out of the arena.
Alabama photo by Brittany App, courtesy of the California Mid-State Fair.
The California Mid-State Fair runs today through July 29 at the Paso Robles Event Center, 2198 Riverside Ave. in Paso Robles. For more information about upcoming concerts, call 1-800-909-FAIR (3247) or visit www.midstatefair.com.
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