On Thursday night I ventured to The Moody Theater in downtown Austin to catch Dwight Yoakam. I have been ambivalent about shows at this venue, primarily because it’s so damn large. The views from the balcony take you so far away from the action on stage there is no real connection for me with the music experience. Thursday, however, I had general admission to the floor. And let’s face it; crowding the stage for hours while your feet ache and your ears buzz from the music is a universal experience, whether you’re at The Moody Theater, Gruene Hall, or anywhere else.
General admission to the floor turned out to be the right ticket for the Dwight experience. My friends and I arrived early so we could claim premium standing space for the show. Our perseverance (and sensible footwear) paid off in spades when we claimed our space just left of center, directly against the barrier next to the stage. We dutifully suffered through the wet towel that was the opening act and counted the minutes until Dwight could take the reins.
Dwight’s appearance didn’t disappoint. He took the stage donning a white button down shirt (untucked), denim jacket (replete with rhinestone trim), and the ass-tightest jeans ever created by man for man. (For those who always wondered, my view gave me opportunity to deduce that Dwight in fact, dresses right.) The ever-present hat topped the girl-candy confection standing stage center.
The music didn’t disappoint. He ran through all the Dwight classics: Ain't That Lonely Yet; A Thousand Miles From Nowhere; Guitars, Cadillacs; It Only Hurts When I Cry; Streets of Bakersfield; I Sang Dixie; Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn Me Loose; Little Sister; Little Ways; Fast as You; Honky Tonk Man; etc. - all done and enjoyed thoroughly. I’ve always enjoyed his take on Suspicious Minds, and he delivered a killer reprise of Ring of Fire.
All of this music was delivered with the signature Dwight moves: pelvic thrust, rolling hips, twisting legs. He’s the damn Sally O’Mally of country music: the dude may be 55, but he can still KICK, STRETCH, and KICK! all while rocking that boy camel toe. He has just got to have a killer pelvic floor after all those years of Pilates for Rockabilly stars.
Dwight stood center, flanked by his hot, bad-boy bass player and his cute-if-oddly-effeminate lead guitar player. All three had guitar picks lined up their mic-stands and the bass player made a point of tossing picks into the audience on occasion. Desperate to wed bridesmaids coming to blows over a bridal bouquet had nothing on the ravenous women clamoring for those picks. Unfortunately, the last pick caught the wind and blew back from a determined blonde. Poor thing was millimeters from a firm finger-grasp on that treasure when it retreated mid-air and fell irretrievably on the wrong side of the solid barrier blocking the stage.
After Dwight had taken his over-developed pelvic floor and his band backstage, the stagehands, herein after referred to as Roadie Trolls, swarmed on stage to tear down. As they unplugged the guitars and mics, the sad, pickless blonde begged one of them to give her one of the picks from the mic-stands, since her treasure was lost. I wish I could accurately convey the sickening contempt that radiated off this particular Roadie Troll as he looked at the sad creature before him. As she very sweetly pleaded, “Please? Please?” he methodically extracted each of the about 30 remaining picks on stage from the mic-stands and placed them menacingly into his little bag.
Can someone please explain to me what the hell this dude’s problem was? They were guitar picks. Not Elvis’ sweat stained scarf, guitar picks. I found myself livid as I witnessed this disrespect of Dwight’s fans. These people crowding the floor had paid about $60 dollars a ticket, paid $10 to park, stood for hours, and tolerated a moderately annoying opening act, just to spend 90 minutes listening to Dwight sing. These are the people that give Dwight a job, and consequently give the Roadie Trolls a job. I understand that there are mentally unstable fans that cross lines and give rise to the need for appropriate and strict boundaries. But we are talking about a polite woman, standing on the right side of the barrier, asking for a damn guitar pick.
I left the show thinking that Dwight needs to look closer at who represents him once he takes himself off-stage. Unfortunately, the lingering impression I have of his show is the sad woman, with a light pocketbook, sore feet, and buzzing ears, staring forlornly at a little piece of green plastic lying just out of reach. And the Roadie Troll looking down at her from his borrowed perch with misplaced contempt.