Hoosier's Lounge, Casino Aztar, Evansville, IN on May 7, 2004

Evansville, Indiana’s Casino Aztar was treated to an evening of pure country hip when Marty Stuart and his Fabulous Superlatives played a lively Friday night double set of outstanding and beautifully delivered songs.

The shows took place in an atrium-like setting with the bar and stage set up in the middle of an expansive glass enclosure. The small stage was decorated with lava lamps and draped white lights that made it look like an intimate, outdoor private party. Folks weren’t too pleased with the casino’s procedure of seating in Disney-like fashion of lining people up like dominos in the reserved seats, whether they were the first callers for tickets or not. Merchandiser Jim Hill’s pre-show warmup lightened the mood, however, with his zany method of interspersing required instructions with corny jokes that couldn’t help but make the audience laugh. He would’ve made Hee Haw proud, no doubt.

Marty’s first set was good but kind of generic in terms of light entertainment value. Starting out with a cool "Hey Baby," we then heard "Too Much Month..." "The Whiskey Ain't Workin'," and the soulful, "Homesick." Marty then kicked it up again with "Rock Island Line" and a really cute tweak of a Johnny Cash tune, "Luther Played the Boogie Woogie..." that had the audience in stitches with his campy style of singing it. Then came some tracks of the new album. Marty sang "A Satisfied Mind," and then he acknowledged a member of the audience who wrote the song, "Sundown in Nashville." He performed it in his honor (the guy was thrilled), followed by "Farmer’s Blues."

The Superlatives then got a turn in the spotlight, first with Kenny Vaughan’s "Country Music’s Got a Hold on Me" followed by Brian Glenn with "Everybody’s Trying to Be My Baby." The set finished out with "Hillbilly Rock" with "High On A Mountaintop" as an encore.

For the second set, all I can say is someone in the back must have loaded those guys up with high octane and then set a fuse under their collective keisters, for this set was a wilder ride than any I’ve seen as we were taken on a loud and rowdy blast that had the house rocking for a full hour. Marty was way more lively with the crowd this time, clowning around and bouncing about the stage with youthful, brattish energy that was thoroughly entertaining. Blazing out with "You Don’t Know My Mind," Marty rattled off a quick succession of old hits, "Burn Me Down," "This One’s Gonna Hurt You," "Tempted," "The Whiskey Ain’t Workin’ " and "Little Things," with barely enough time for applause in between, before catching his breath (and ours) by taking the crowd through a few rounds of "Amen." Then back to business with "If You Wanted me Around," and a repeat of the campy "Luther Played the Boogie Woogie..."

He bantered easily with the crowd, teasing them and imitating the squealing females that was extremely funny. He made hay with a rather inebriated woman in the front row, making her behavior part of a hilarious spontaneous routine that generated loads of laughter. At one point he responded with the usual calls to "take off your coat" with his comeback line "take off your dress," much to the crowd’s delight, a playful exchange I hadn’t heard out of him in months.

The Superlatives then took a turn at the mike with Harry Stinson first singing a really cool solo (sorry, he told me the name of it later but I forgot it) and then Brian Glenn with "Till I get it right," the only ballad in this frenetic set. After singing a rousing rendition of "That’s Country," Kenny Vaughan showcased his guitar skills with "Walk Like That." This time I seemed to hear that telecaster sing more than I ever had, and his skill was simply flawless on this night, garnering him a standing ovation from many folks several times during this show. The set finished out with Hillbilly Rock and encore "Draggin’ the Line" that brought the crowd to its feet. We were treated to two meet and greets this night, too.

This show was pure let-loose high energy with a little randy mischief thrown in that his fans have grown to love about Marty over the years. It was a welcome sight to see this night, too.

Review and photos by Diane Gilmore, Springfield, TN

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