Oh, Dixie Chicks, how grateful we are to share the planet with you. Especially since it's SO FREAKING HOT out there we'd sit through anything for two hours of air conditioning. The Chicks kicked ass last night at a packed Madison Square Garden, for a crowd so pumped they were screaming at Natalie Maines' tambourine solos. Lots of teenage girls, lots of married couples, everybody singing all the words to "Goodbye Earl," "Cowboy Take Me Away," and newer songs like "The Long Way Around." The Chicks sent out "White Trash Wedding" to Mel Gibson. "You know how it is," Natalie said. "You get drunk, you say things — All our controversies probably would have gone away if I checked into rehab the next day." One fan held up a sign that said, "I'm gay but I love Chicks." "Aw, that's sweet," Natalie said. "I'm straight, but I love gay people!"
Natalie wore a black leather outfit, uncannily akin to what Olivia Newton John wore on the cover of her 1978 new wave album Totally Hot, plus leggings, which are always a bad idea, especially in heat waves, but who asked me? The other two Chicks (the banjo one and the fiddle one) played a lot of solos, since the Chicks are rocking out more these days, a shrewd move given a dismal summer for country tours. Everybody in the nine-piece band took a solo on the bluegrass breakdown "Little Jack Slade." Stevie Nicks' "Landslide" was even awesomer than their version of Bob Dylan's "Mississippi." But they aren't playing "There's Your Trouble" on this tour. Wha's up with that? That song is the JAM, ladies!
Natalie made a few references to the band's "excellent career decisions," alluding to the fact that country radio is still boycotting them even though their record is selling. Don't worry about it, Natalie - rock people like it when you complain about the president. (Hell, we even complain about the presidents we like.) I think Ralph Waldo Emerson said it best: " 'Tis of no importance what bats and owls think." Ralph Waldo Emerson was cool. So are the Dixie Chicks.