The Double Trouble Tour with Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart - Merrillville, IN on August 24, 1996

So, I'm cruising down the highway in my T-Bird to lovely Merrillville, Indiana, and for a change, on my way out of the Chicago area, there isn't any traffic. Great, I'm going to be way early for this double bill of double trouble with Travis Tritt and Marty Stuart. At least I got a good parking spot.

ConcRev-Merrillville-IN-8-24-1996.htmTravis Tritt and Marty Stuart did one of these "Double Trouble" tour type things a few years back, and I was sorry I missed it because I heard it was a good show. I'm a pretty big Travis Tritt fan, and although not big on Marty Stuart, I always heard he was a good performer. Put the two of them together, and let me tell you, they don't just put on a good show, they put on one hell of a great show.

I wasn't sure exactly how this show was going to proceed. I knew Travis and Marty would do some songs together, but I wasn't sure how or when. But, I the end, it was really cool the way they pulled this nearly three-hour show off. The lights went out, the fans started screaming, and Travis and Marty make their way to the stage with Marty's band behind them. It was honky tonkin' time and time for the first electric set of the pair. A couple of songs, "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best" being one of them, and Travis left the stage for Marty to have his set. I'm sitting there thinking to myself, "Self, that's it, two songs, what a gyp." But Marty had his time, so I would see exactly what he was all about.

A lot of shows give me a greater appreciation for an artist, and Marty's show was no different. With a sort-of prison set behind him, complete with chain-link fence and barbed-wire, Marty blasted through almost an hour of hits and new songs. I was impressed that this guy is a much better guitarist than I had realized, I was impressed that he played with Johnny Cash years ago, I was impressed with his varying the set list from up-tempo to slower songs without losing the interest of the crowd, and I was impressed he dropped balloons on the crowd. Alright, the balloons didn't really impress me, and maybe it was kinda cheesy, but balloons are always fun at a concert, and Marty Stuart rocked. He kicked ass and took names, and every song had the crowd singing along (all except those new ones - but that will come in time). From "Burn Me Down" to "Hillbilly Rock," I must say Marty Stuart made a newer fan out of me, and the crowd had a blast. Yep, it's TWO THUMBS UP for the Marty-man.

So, Marty leaves the stage, the curtains are closing, and people are heading for the beer stands and, well, to get rid of that beer they had before. Too bad for them, they were caught holding their money and other things when Travis and Marty came out and took seats on two stools set up on stage. The curtain was closed behind them and the boys proceeded to about three-ish numbers that had the crowd who left throwing the money at the beer vendors and zippin' up quick. The crowd who stayed got to listen to this cool Marty love song called "Shelter From The Storm," sing along to "Anymore," laugh through some whitty banter between Travis and Marty, and sing along some more to "This One's Gonna Hurt You (For A Long Long Time)." As good as the music was, I couldn't help but think of what a cool way to change sets without a set-break. And I wasn't so disappointed about the duo thing as I was in the beginning because this was cool.

Well, it was time for Marty to leave thestage and timefor Travis. Gone was the prison set and a kind-of-platform style set was left in its place. Persnally, I think the band was set a little too far back with that big platform thing, but Travis made up for it by working the entire state. Yea, you know it, Travis Tritt mixed country with southern rock, even putting a little note missing the late, great Stevie Ray Vaughn. I miss SRV, too. But this show was about rockin'. This show was about snuggling with your honey, and this show was about Travis Tritt's turn to kick ass and take names -- which he did easily.

Whereas Marty has slow songs, they aren't really your ballads. Travis, on the other hand, has a great set of both ballads and songs that will get you out of your chair and dancing in the aisles. The ony problem this night was the crazed security dudes weren't going to let anyone have any fun, let alone the girls trying to have a good time in the front row. Try as they might, as Travis was belting out songs like "I'm Gonna Be Somebody" and "T.R.O.U.B.L.E," they kept trying to get up and dance. Nope, security would have none of that, and even threatened to throw them out of the theatre if they kept it up. Looking around, the only ones allowed to dance were those in the back row. Oh well.

Travis wiggles and jiggles and with every "turn around to show his butt" moment, even though they couldn't dance, the women loved it. The guys just loved being able to sing songs like "Here's A Quarter (Call Someone Who Cares)" and "Ten Feet Tall And Bulletproof." And the Travis-man get TWO BIG THUMBS UP too.

But the night wasn't over.

Nope, Marty comes back and joins Travis for one last time, and me, who thought at the beginning it would really suck if they only did two songs together, had now gotten his fill of two super-talented country dudes playing along. Yep, "Hard Times And Misery," "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," and "Double Trouble" worked to close a show that was nearly three hours of just hard drivin' country, tear-jerkin' ballads, and, in the immortal words to one of the greatest bad TV theme songs of all times, two good ol' boys never meanin' no harm. Travis and Marty put on one hell of a show, and hey, it's even for a good cause. Way cool!

And that's it for this one, I'm The Dude on the Right. L8R!

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