Tuesday, February 02, 2010

Casting pearls before swine...

...is, apparently, what George Strait did when he played Baltimore recently:

Reba McEntire (pictured, top) showed Friday night at 1st Mariner Arena why she is arguably the queen of country music, while veteran crooner George Strait (pictured, bottom) left me wondering why he hasn't been kicked from his throne.

Strait's dry performance lacked the flare and persona of McEntire. Strait's songs sounded pretty much the same in both lyrics and tempo. After the 10th reference to honky tonk, Strait's act started to wear thin.

It was a different story with McEntire and Lee Ann Womack, who went on before Strait. They both showed more style and flair. The two were dressed to impress, and flexed their vocal muscles with a good mix of songs. Their performances definitely delighted the crowd. (McEntire brought the audience to its feet on several occasions.)

Strait, on the other hand, sang one sad, whiny, slow song after another. It's a shame because the concert had so much promise. ...

...As I can see from some of the other comments, I was not alone in my assessment of George's performance. It was long-winded and at times--boring. If that wasnsn't the case then there wouldn't have been so many people noticably leaving the concert before he was finished.

I know I'm a fan, with all the biases that come with such -- but I am just at a loss here. Perhaps it's all in personal taste, but it seems to me that they sent someone to review the show who had little to no appreciation of the genre. One sad, whiny, slow song after another? Really? I was unaware that "The Fireman," "The Seashores of Old Mexico," and "High Tone Woman" were whiny and slow. I am reminded of the late '90s when Houston's KIKK 95.7 had the slogan "We play all the hot young country without all the tired old stuff to get in the way," as if songs like "Only Daddy That'll Walk the Line," "The One I Loved Back Then," and "It's Been A Great Afternoon" were tired, worn-out songs. And don't you just love how the writer tried to defend his opinion by essentially saying, "Other people think the same thing"? I bet they're also not really fans of the genre, so their opinion really doesn't matter either, does it? No doubt more than a few thought the whole "Young Country" branding of KIKK in Houston was genius too, but that didn't make it so, either. Memo to the Baltimore Sun: You really shouldn't send pop music fans to review country concerts. They really make for a skewed perspective.