Jo Dee Messina’s better than great show in Abingdon, Va.
Last night I went to the Washington County Fair in Abingdon, Va. It was the last night of that fair, and pretty much the last night of ‘fair season’ in this area. I’ve always liked Jo Dee’s music, and I was anxious to hear her sing the songs she made famous. I was also very happy to hear her talk about a new album she is working on, and one of the songs it would include was a remake of Lonely Boy. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Jo Dee opened with “Heads Carolina,” her 1996 debut single. It was the right song to open with. Everyone remembered the song – everyone remembered the words, and people were singing along. From start to finish the show was non-stop. Jo Dee told story after story, following each with a song the story was leading in to. If Jo Dee hadn’t been a singer, she probably could have been a professional story-teller. Her talent is not just singing – her talent is entertaining.
Her set list included “Bye, Bye,” and “I’m Alright,” both written by Phil Vassar, and both near the top of my list of favorites among all of Jo Dee’s songs. The other songs we heard during the 90 minute show were “Life is Good,” “That’s the Way It Is,” “Lonely Boy,” “A Woman’s Rant,” “I’m Not Dead,” “Downtime,” “Bring on the Rain,” “Stand Beside Me,” Lesson in Leaving,””Natural Woman,” and “Give a Damn”. She came back with an encore’ and gave us “Don’t Stop Believing,” and the “National Anthem”.
I watched the band nearly as much as I watched Jo Dee. This very talented group of musicians added so much to the show. You’ll see pictures of them along with more pictures of Jo Dee after the article. Band members were Robby Vaughn, acoustic guitar; Rick Taylor, lead guitar; Marshall Richardson, drums; Chris Autry, bass; Josh Shults, keyboard; and Josh Matheny, lap steel.
Her entire show was entertaining and it was fun. I could listen to her talk for hours. She didn’t have to think about what was coming next, she just knew. She looked at the audience, she talked to the audience, and people laughed, sang, I’m not sure anyone was ready for the show to be over. Jo Dee worked hard, and the audience benefitted from that hard work. We got to see a show that was well thought-out, well-executed, and definitely worth seeing.
I have only one negative thing to say about the show. Unfortunately, it was in my book, a huge negative – and something that even caused one of her fans (or possibly an x-fan now) to get up and leave the show. Before the show started, an announcement was made regarding videos. We hear that at just about every concert we attend – so it was not a surprise to hear the emcee tell us at the beginning of the show, “Video and audio taping is not allowed.” It was said, we all knew, that should have been the end of it.
However, when Jo Dee finished singing her first song, she looked down at the audience, pointing to the entire front row, and said, “I know they told you videos were not allowed, but everyone in the front row is video taping this.” In the first place, she was wrong. Every one in the front row was not video taping her performance. Then, she said to the entire nearly sold-out crowd, “It’s ok. You can video tape, I’m having a good hair day.” She even added some comment about her label not being happy about her giving them permission to tape, but she did it anyway.
Those comments took the video conversation a little farther, now THAT should have been the end of it. Yet it seemed every opportunity she had to talk about taping, she did. First it was no, then it was yes, then it was just a mention in conversation. And while it seemed to me this was just Jo Dee’s attempt at humor, I hate to tell her – it wasn’t funny. A security guard came to one of the men in the front row and warned him about using a video camera. The man was not using one, and was so angry with the security guard that he left the concert. That was after the second song.
My advice to Jo Dee is this. She is funny. Her stories were hilarious. She is talented, her vocals were powerful and perfect. She is a good entertainer – she works her entire stage, she’s fun to watch, and the show was awesome. I think she just made a mistake by mentioning video taping at all. She can’t see what’s going on from the stage, and I believe that attempt at humor cost her a fan last night – maybe more than one.
That’s the report about the show. Anxious to hear from any of you who were there. And, please check back in just a little while to find out why as good as this show was, there is a person working with Jo Dee who really needs to give his job description a second look. Now – it’s picture time!
Back very soon with what I can only term an ‘editorial.’
♪♫ Country ♪♫
Tags: Abingdon, Chris Autry, jo dee messina, Josh Matheny, Josh Shults, Marshall Richardson, Rick Taylor, Robby Vaughn, Va.