Dixie Chicks are one of the most successful Country music acts of all time but their career hit a rough patch in 2003 when lead singer Natalie Maines criticised then President George W. Bush during a show in London. The fall out from that incident was spectacular, so much so that the Chicks captured it all in documentary Shut Up and Sing. With Country radio and Country fans turning against them, they soon saw their popularity take a hit. They released Taking the Long Way in 2006, which is the last album of new material the trio has released.
After going on hiatus in 2008, the band reunited for the Long Time Gone tour in 2013 and in 2016 they embarked on the DCX MMXVI World Tour. With no hint of new music on the horizon, the DCX MMXVI World Tour was an opportunity for fans to see the band together again and performing a collection of their greatest hits. The tour was in essence a celebration of the Chicks’ solid back catalogue and their huge success during their peak.
The tour has been captured for a recently released Blu-ray and CD release (it’s also available as a DVD/CD package) and it’s proof that despite the backlash the Dixie Chicks received (and continue to receive) from the Country music genre, they have plenty of supporters that still want to hear what they’ve got to offer. The show features performances of 22 songs, mixing the band’s biggest hits with some fan favourites and carefully selected covers.
Kicking off with The Long Way Around, it’s immediately obvious that the Dixie Chicks still have the magic and chemistry that made them a global phenomenon. Maines’ voice is powerful and passionate but it’s when Emily Strayer and Martie Maguire come in with their harmonies that the band hits its sweet spot. Over the course of the show the women play a variety of instruments too, reminding us all of what well-rounded and capable musicians they are as well as vocalists.
There are plenty of highlights across the show including the dark Goodbye Earl, the powerful Ready to Run and the unapologetic resilience of Not Ready to Make Nice. An acoustic section midway through the performance includes a stunning rendition of the emotive Travelin’ Soldier and the group’s cover of Beyonce’s Daddy Lessons, which they performed with the singer during the CMA Awards last year somehow managing to cause controversy once again.
It’s thrilling to see the Chicks back together again and playing to sold-out crowds. You can tell from the looks on their faces that the trio are happy to be back together and touring again too. They have so many great songs in their back catalogue that my only real complaint is that they could have drawn even more from their own material rather than peppering the set with covers. Daddy Lessons works well but I would have preferred some original Chicks material rather than covers of Prince’s Nothing Compares 2 U and Patty Griffin’s Don’t Let Me Die in Florida.
DCX MMXVI World Tour is a must-have for those who went along to one of the shows and for those who couldn’t get tickets. It’s a timely reminder that the Dixie Chicks are still one of the finest acts in Country music and it’s remarkable to think that despite the path they forged for women in the genre, it’s still very hard for female artists to achieve commercial success. With plenty of energy, passion and chemistry, the Dixie Chicks gave one hell of a performance during their DCX MMXVI World Tour and this Blu-ray/CD package is the perfect momento.
Track listing: CD1 1. The Long Way Around 2. Lubbock Or Leave It 3. Truth No. 2 4. Easy Silence 5. Long Time Gone 6. Nothing Compares 2 U 7. Top Of The World 8. Something in the Air 9. Goodbye Earl CD2 1. Travelin’ Soldier (Acoustic) 2. Don’t Let Me Die in Florida (Acoustic) 3. Daddy Lessons (Acoustic) 4. White Trash Wedding (Acoustic) 5. Bluegrass Instrumental 6. Ready to Run 7. Mississippi 8. Landslide 9. Cowboy Take Me Away 10. Wide Open Spaces 11. Sin Wagon 12. Not Ready to Make Nice 13. Better Way Released By: Sony Music Release Date: 1st September 2017