19 February 2011
Texas Station, Las Vegas, NV
My Dad was a much bigger fan of George Jones than I have ever been, but Dad never got to see him. Actually, he and my Mom drove 110 miles on a weeknight to go see him in 1974, unfortunately on an evening that he lived up to his "No Show George" image.
For about 60 dates a year, George plays a nostalgic set of his most successful songs, including "Why Baby Why", "Once You've Had The Best", "Bartender's Blues", "Your Still On My Mind", "White Lightning", "Golden Ring", and my personal favorite, "The One I Loved Back Then (Corvette Song).
"Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes" showcased a nice film showing many country artists in their heyday, including Waylon Jennings, Conway Twitty, Buck Owens, and even Elvis, to name but a few.
A nice fiddle solo version of "Black Mountain Rag" was a nice surprise--I've always liked the Byrds version in which Clarence White impressively flat-picked an acoustic guitar.
"He Stopped Loving Her Today" of course ended the set.
George no longer plays acoustic guitar on stage, and his voice has changed with time. Additionally, because he no longer plays guitar, he holds, and walks around with, a wireless microphone. Because he now twitches the microphone the same way he used to twitch his guitar, his legs, and jaw during unique vocal phrasing, sometimes the sound levels fluctuate wildly, often interfering with what would otherwise be a constant vocal audio level. And, for those interested in hearing his trademark voice, this can be somewhat disappointing.
At 79 years old, "The Possum" is lucky to be alive, after decades of alcohol and cocaine abuse, now apparently clean for about 30 years. Simply seeing George Jones command a large audience in 2011 is, by itself, impressive.
[***] - Steven T.
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