Eisenhower High School - Decatur, IL on February 20, 1999


This show was at Eisenhower High School's gymnasium in Decatur, Illinois,. sponsored by the Police Benevolent Association and a local radio station. Marty's opening act was a group of good ol boys who started out in the area--Pork and the Havanna Ducks! Actually they were pretty good and provided lots of laughs.

Marty and the band were introduced and the crowd went wild, of course. He had on the infamous black leather pants and that dark shiny shirt that reflects the colors of the lights. You know the one that hangs way too low. He started right in with "Honky Tonkin's What I Do Best". Had the crowd on its feet for most of the song. Marty said "hello" and told all of us that he came to Decatur to see Pork and the Havanna Ducks himself. He did "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'." Said that song makes him think of his brother Travis. Back when they did that song and toured, the press labeled them outlaws but that was just b.s. Said y'all know he's expecting the 2nd child now and how much he's changed since then. Now he's changing diapers and watching Barney. Did "Blue Train" and "Tempted" which is one of my personal favorites. Crowd loved it and Marty responded in a falsetto voice "I love you too."

He talked about last year being in Taylorville up the road. Said they had to turn the amps down real low and it was still too loud. At the second show, some little ol white-haired ladies were clapping along in the front row, with the beat even. He talked to manager after show and said they'd pay for the tickets of the people who left but said just look at them little ol ladies, they didn't mind. Manager said "naww that's ok. Anyway them's my aunties and they're deaf already."

He got his mandolin from Randy and did a heartbreaking rendition of "Oh What A Silent Night." I told the people behind me that they were in for a real treat with this song. Afterwards, they agreed with me. Marty introduced the guys in the Rock-n-Roll Cowboys and stated that Brad has been with him for 10 years! He then launched into a crowd pleasing "Shake Your Hips" with all the requisite moves and gestures. When he held that long note on "squeeze," the crowd roared! A fan handed him a bouquet after and he said he'd kiss her but he couldn't bend over coz his pants was too tight. Then proceeded to turn around and lift up the back of his shirt to prove it to us. What can I say except .... heaven! After we finished howling, he told us again "I love you too!"

Told the audience that "y'all have pretty trains here in Decatur" and told of making his new album. Then told his hobo story to intro "Hobo's Prayer." "Where I Come From" and "Burn Me Down" came next. He asked for requests from people. Of course I screamed for my favorite ("So Many People") and hundreds of others right along with me for their favorites. Then he did "Hey Baby."

He squealed out "I love you too" and said if we gave him $5, he would sing what we wanted, otherwise "I'll sing what I want." This was in reference to Pork askin for dollars from audience to get off the stage. Which they gave him and he donated to the police benefit. Marty then said they went to dinner at The Wharf and he thinks the baked potato just kicked in and he'd sing the next song if he can remember the words. Well he started "Long Black Veil" and the crowd was hushed through the whole song. He slid right into a duet with Brad, then "Now That's Country" and "Hillbilly Rock." He thanked us shook some hands and waved his way offstage. The people went nuts for more.

Marty does NOT disappoint! Came back out with a long black coat on that had jet beads and trim on the shoulders and yoke. It was so sparkly under those lights. He asked if there were any "Western Girls" there and dove into the song full blast. He said "Happy Birthday" to Josephine as he was taking more flowers from the people in front of the stage. She was 81 years old. Marty talked about the year 2000 coming up and he's not worried about it coz God's got it under control. He then did a beautiful song that went "As Long As I Have Jesus, I Can Face Tomorrow." So moving to listen to him sing with such feeling. He shook hands at the front of the stage for a while and handed out picks and autographs. Marty had a lot of flowers by the time this show ended.

The meet-n-greet was, of course, organized by Mike. I gave him a hug and told him y'all said "hi." He told me to be sure to tell all of you about getting a big ol hug back and that he says "hi" to everyone also. Talked to Gary while in line also. He said this was his first show back and it felt good up there. He's got a brace on from his recent back surgery. Said to give him about 2 months and he'll be raring to go. He wanted me to tell everyone he feels fine. Talked to other fan club members in line while Marty did v.i.p. thang. Most were from area except for Robyn, Christine, the sweet couple (Glenda and Clarence Rummell) from Ohio that Marty gave the puppy to and myself.

My turn came and he gave me a very healthy hug and said "hi." I told him what a great show it was while I gave him a little kissy on his cheek during this squeeze. I told him I wanted to say "hi" from everybody and he asked "who" so I tried to rattle off as many names as I could. His eyes crinkled up and he said, "that's a lotta people." He signed my agency photo the Winnavegas people gave me and another photo. Then I asked him if he would do something a little strange for me. He just looked at me from under raised brows and said, "I don't know, what?" I then asked him to sign my thumbnails! I did my nails up special for Marty and had some of his symbols airbrushed on them. Cactus, roses, cowboy boot and some musical notes (coz I couldn't find a horseshoe). Left my thumbs blank for him. He laughed and did it. Then took hold of both my hands and studied what I had done on each finger. Told me then that he used to have a car that color! We both got a good laugh outta that one. I walked away thinking oh my God he held my hands for the longest time. Ladies and gentlemen (hint hint) he smells soooo good. Those hands and that voice, the man is so incredibly talented. But best of all he's got a helluva brain! He deserves so much more than a Grammy.

Review and photos by Tami Krato, St. Charles, MO

Return To Concert Reviews Return To Home Page