Casino Magic - Bay St. Louis, MS on August 26, 1999

My mother and I got to the Casino Magic Hotel about 3:30ish and, as soon as we were checked in, we went to the Casino to get our tickets. I was pleasantly surprised to see that the original canvas "fight dome" that he played in two years ago was gone. The Magic has upgraded their events arena into a real room at the back of the Casino. It's a very large arena, too...and it was FILLED with people there to see Marty! We were on the 3rd row, 6th and 7th seats in the section left of center. Pretty good seats, but the first 5 seats were empty! Same in the rows ahead of us. Apparently, those were VIP seats for anyone the casino wanted to invite to the show (usually the high-rollers).

When Marty was announced and no one had filled those seats, everyone in our row just got up and moved down!! Me being the leader of the pack! While we were still waiting for the show to begin, I saw Cindy Allred and her friend Lisa on the 1st row...Marty's mom came out from "behind the scenes," saw Cindy and Lisa and immediately ran over and sat down beside them and started talking to them. I guess if you go to as many shows as Cindy does you become a recognizable face in the crowd. Mrs. Stuart even went to get her brother and bring him over to introduce to Cindy and Lisa. And speaking of their kinfolk...every time Marty plays his home state, relatives come out of the woodwork! The whole front row, center section, was filled with his aunts, uncles and cousins. Marty even made a quick comment, in the middle of his show, "If ya need a good lawyer, see my
Uncle Jim!" (I believe that was his uncle's name!?)

Marty and the Rock & Roll Cowboys finally hit the stage and they all wore black...surprised? Marty had on a black coat with pink arrows on it...those familiar arrows we all know. It wasn't long, though, before he came out of that coat. I know he was hot under those bright lights, especially since he had on a long-sleeved shirt underneath that coat. That's something I'll never understand about that guy...long sleeves in the worst heat of summer! (He's been in the bright lights too long!) Brad and Steve came out of their coats too, but Gary and Gregg didn't.

As for the songs he sang...sorry I can't give you a list. I was too busy taking photos and generally enjoying myself. Just know this...there wasn't a bad one in the bunch! He told his "Travis and the Banker, Cobb" story again...each time he tells it, he embellishes it a little more. And it gets better every time. The audience howled with laughter! It was a very appreciative audience, too. Lots of whoops and hollers coming from the house. That makes performing ten times easier for the audience. I've been to shows where the audience just sits there and listens - which is fine - but if the performers don't get any feedback from the audience they don't feel like they're getting through to us. The "feed" off of the energy from us! When the audience sounds like their having a good time, the bands give back 110 percent! And that's the way it was last night.

But, with the first note of "Hillbilly Rock" comes the let's over. WAY TOO SOON!! When he finished and walked off the stage, people began to rush the stage and everyone was clapping, hollering, and screaming for Marty to come back...and he DID! :))))) My mother told me later that she thought he looked good right to the end of the show, till the audience brought him back out for the encore. She thought he looked very tired at that point. Could be. But, I was too busy enjoying the music and trying to see around the people who had walked up to the front to notice. I imagine with family reunions prior to the show, interviews, and who knows what else...then doing the show, anyone would be tired.

My mother went out into the casino while I waited in line for the meet & greet. I'm not quite sure what my feelings are about the Fan Club members being put off till last are...but we were! People with "wristbands" went in first...probably press and/or contest winners...quite a few of them, too. Then, people with special white Marty Party passes on went in...they were his relatives. While they were in there, we watched as the crew tore down the set and the fellow taking down the speakers where I was standing pulled the curtains back so he could work and we could see Marty meeting with his kin. He had the biggest smile on his face!

One male cousin with a baseball cap on had his picture taken with Marty twice...the second time he quickly leaned over and kissed Marty on the cheek (as a joke, I'm sure)! Another relative in a wheelchair had been patiently waiting...Marty walked over to her, straddled his legs around the footrests on the chair, leaned over and gave her the biggest hug. You know he's GOT to enjoy seeing all his relatives with as big a smile as he was wearing! Finally, we got to go in. We were hurried through as always but, I said that Fan Club members *know* what to do and accept it. I got to get a big ole hug from him myself. :))))

Out in the casino, I saw Brad and Gary sitting at the bar with some of that "Red, Red, Wine..." Actually, I don't know what they were drinking but they said they were staying the night and leaving for Tuscaloosa today. I talked with them a little while - not long. I proceeded to lose my money in the slots and then we went back to our room...............And it was over.......waaaaay too soon! :-)

Review by Cathy Morrison, Fairhope, AL

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