Dollywood, Pigeon Forge, TN on June 14, 2003

Stacia and I finally headed toward Dollywood and managed to get there at 1:30 p.m. in drizzling rain. The rain didn't last long. By the time we got off the trolley and headed in to get my pic for my season pass, the sun was out. It was about 2:00 p.m. when we finally got a ticket and my pass done. The first person I ran into was Brenda Metz. Brenda had her shirts of hers and her daughter Diane's and was going to give them to Marty during the meet and greet. Her daughters were coming in for the 7:00 p.m. show, as well as a friend of hers, Jan. Since she'd just gotten home from Myrtle Beach, she said everyone was calling her to tell her that Marty had mentioned her name on the WIVK radio station that day while promoting the new CD, and how supportive his East Tennessee fans were. After we'd talked for a while, Staci and I decided to walk around before the show started to see if there were any new crafts. Then we headed back to get our seats. Our seats were C (3rd row) left, and on the end. Brenda was only 2 rows behind us, and I looked and looked for June and Jay but couldn't find them. Thought maybe they were just coming to the 2nd show.

The show got on its way and Connie's band members came right out, then they introduced Connie. This show was lighter in attendance, as the first show usually is, since it requires a ticket into the park (or season passes in my case).

Her song list included:

"I've Got My Baby On My Mind "
"Cincinnati, Ohio"
"I Never Once Stopped Loving You" (she did it beautifully, one of my most favorite!)
"I Ain't Had No Loving"
"Run Away Little Tears"

She introduced her band:

A former Texas Troubadour and Steel Player - Johnny Cox
Lead Guitarist - Rick Wright
Her Drummer - Rick McClure
Bass & Band Leader who's been with her 15 years and fired 38 times (LOL) - Ron Ham

I hope the spelling and names are correct!

I missed one song just before Marty came out and said he wanted sing with his wife. They exchanged hugs and kisses and Connie suggested a Conway/Loretta song. He asked if he could be Loretta and said "Now Du......." in the perfect Loretta twang. Connie made a good Conway quip, then they took off on the song "After The Fire Is Gone". Man, why don't they record a song together? Marty went backstage, then Connie sang "Once A Day", She ended with "How Great Thou Art" and a standing ovation.

After the her band went off, very shortly, Marty's band all came out. Very different from what we'd seen before. Then they introduced Marty and he came right out into:

"Back to the Country " Announced the new album and sang: "Too much Month At The End of The Money" which he respectfully was sending to Washington. We "wellllllllled" and sucked of course. (Very quiet crowd, we really did suck singing) Even when he tried to get a sing along, Staci looked at me like you're the only one I hear singing. I don't sing very good, or very loud....for that reason.
That was on "Whiskey Ain't Workin". He did a Porter Wagner song, "Satisfied Mind", and said that's the only thing he'd been able to get off Porter, or something to that effect. Laughter.
He slowed down a bit with "Homesick", then kicked right back up with "Tempted". Only wish the crowd had kicked up a bit. He was really having to work this crowd for clapping and singing along.

Kenny came out and got rowdy since "Country Music Gotta Hold On (him) Me." Then they "Burn(ed) Me Down" (one of my favorites alongside "Tempted"). Went back to the new album with "If There Ain't There Oughta Be." Slowed down again and said "Here I Am". He then talked about the Barnyard Tour, who all would be there, and how it would be smaller towns all over the place, getting back to country.

He brought around the band for a very kicky "Paul and Silas", even Harry comes down from the drums and sings with them. They did "Hillbilly Rock" and, as much as I tried for encore, the crowd started going. Maybe there wasn't going to be one anyway. They had announced that meet and greet would be after the second show so we headed out to find food.

If you ever go to the Backstage Restaurant and see the wonderful desserts sitting on the piano as you wait to be seated, take my word, all of the desserts are not candles. Brenda and Jim, Staci and I thought, "Are those real?". So while touching the candles that were a huge fudge ala mode cake and the biggest sundae in a bowl I've ever seen, I proceeded to check the chocolate cake. Always remember this....the chocolate cake is real! So is the carrot cake. But the chocolate icing is as real as it gets! I had to go wash off my hand while Brenda and Staci got a laugh.

We had a wonderful meal and visit with Brenda and Jim, then Jan came along and we ate and chatted until almost 6:00 p.m. . Staci and I were going to try to catch a train ride but we got right outside the Backstage Restaurant and got train wrecked. Marty and Connie were in front of the fountain and talking and taking pictures among the crowd. We all stood and watched and Brenda was finally able to get in and talk to Marty and Connie. Jan told Marty it was Brenda's birthday and he wished her a happy birthday. She always has great birthdays with Marty. I got a picture with Connie and told her I missed her at the fan club party. We all stood around and watched them, then it was getting so crowded, security came along to help get them back to the theater, in the shade at least where they stood and took many more pictures with whoever wanted, and autographs. Then they started moving everyone from the front the theater where Marty and Connie's names were billed together. They had pictures made standing under their names on the front of the theater. Of course, everyone else was snapping photos of just the two of them (Gary got the best shot!).

No sooner than they went inside, they started letting everyone come into the theater. Still no June and Jay. Brenda was on the right, on the 2nd row with her daughter and Jim and friends. Then she found Diane who was way on the left behind us. We were only 1 row back from the first show, 4th row this time same end seats on left. The show started out once again with Connie and her band:

The place was full this time as the 2nd shows always are! This show was about the same as the first but with a more interactive crowd you could tell a difference in the show. I caught the song I missed the first time "Singin the Blues".

And this time Connie talked about how blessed her life has been and how much Marty meant to her and how much she loved him. She said "I made him an instant grandpa you know" and talked about her granddaughter Jordan Elizabeth who had been an only child for a while and now had a new baby. How she calls Marty "Pops" and when she comes in, asks if "Pops" is there. One day he came in while Jordan was there and she asked him "Is it really you?" (I loved her sharing that with us).

They were very interactive on "After The Fire Is Gone" this time too. Kept the crowd laughing with some of their antics. They bumped hips once and he reached around as if to smack her back side. Gary even caught him in the act! LOL The second shows were a lot of fun, they were having a ball. She then did "How Great Thou Art" and this show it seemed she took it all the way to the rafters. Another standing ovation and I was just amazed at her voice! So was the crowd. This was a much more energetic crowd than the first.

We had a little bit longer break between the sets this time with the lights and popcorn/coke sales then the WIVK frog mascot and DJ Gunnar (an Alan Jackson look alike, so much that Staci said "what?" before she noticed it wasn't him) came out and really gave a wonderful presentation of Marty. How he started out and where he's come to in carrying country music to the people and keeping it country. The band had already come out by then and they introduced Marty to a much more energetic crowd this time.

Marty's 2nd show was much like the first, but this time he inserted the bank story of him and Travis borrowing money at his momma's bank in Murfreesboro to do the No Hats Tour from Mr. Cobb. We all know how that "ends," no pun intended.

So it was "Back To The Country", "Two Much Month At The End Of The Money", Whiskey Ain't Workin, and Staci says "He didn't say we sucked that time", And we didn't. He did Porter's song "Satisfied Mind" again with the same quip as before. Since it was dark, I wrote right on top of the next song with a song he didn't do the first set so I'm sorry I can't read between the lines.

"Tempted" was a lot more kicked up and rarin' to go this time, and while they were rarin', Kenny's "Country Music Gotta Hold on Me (him)" again. This was the perfect time to tell about the Barnyard Tour again and the new album. He slowed down a bit and did "Farmers Blues" which I hadn't heard til now. Then before the momentum could die down, "Burn Me Down" and "If There Ain't There Oughta Be."

He did the start up for "Long Black Veil" and got an ovation. He brought the guys together again for Paul & Silas then it was time for "Hillbilly Rock". We thought we might get the encore at least and it was like he decided to just go ahead and do it. He didn't even leave after saying all his thank yous. At Dollywood everyone seems to be afraid to rush up to the stage for "Hillbilly Rock" since the security comes if you get out of your seat. Someone had requested "High on a Mountain Top" earlier and he'd said "Yeah, we will do that". After "Hillbilly Rock" he went back to the guitar, started out with "Me and Hank and Jumpin' Jack Flash" right into "High On A Mountain Top". That closed the show and up came the lights.

Fan club met on the right and Connie was autographing on the left. We all got pictures of Brenda and Diane presenting the famous shirts to Marty which he plans to put in the "Hall of Fame". I had my Jam II shirt and my cookbook autographed. I told him some of us were trying to plan a road trip in August hopefully. My camera didn't work of course, sometimes it gets that way lately, so Gary took a picture, then when I turned it off and on, it decided to work for Staci's picture. Why does Marty have that effect on cameras. Staci introduced herself as Mary's daughter and Marty said, "Hello Mary's daughter, and what is your name?" She told him "Staci" and he signed her picture from the last fan club packet while I got a picture. We all got a picture with Connie in her beautiful stage dress and then headed out to the trolley's with dreams of our next show dancing in our heads.

Review by Mary Runyan, Dayton, TN

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