Stone Mountain Park, Stone Mountain, GA on August 31, 2003
My sister and I left early in the hopes of getting a good place to sit. With a free concert, followed by the Laser Show Spectacular and a fireworks display, the crowd was expected to be large. The concert took place on the Memorial Lawn under the Confederate carving on Stone Mountain - a really pretty spot and a great place to have a concert.
Jackie and I got there about two hours before showtime. There were already people all over the lawn, but we found a great patch of grass down front, pretty close to the stage. It was very hot and humid, but at least there was a nice breeze every now and then and people watching passed the time quickly.
At 5:00 p.m., Dierks Bentley started the show right on time. I didn't know any of his stuff except "What Was I Thinking," but it was a painless half hour or so of good music and mostly original songs. He did a nice version of Waylon's "Are You Sure Hank Done It This Way?" which pleased my sister, who was a major Waylon fan. When he sang the chorus, he said "Are you sure Marty done it this way?" He also used "Merle" and "George Jones" as well. He was very nice and
After a short break, the Fabulous Superlatives started drifting out onto the stage and a DJ from one of the local country stations introduced Marty. He came out all smiles and waves and went right into "Back to the Country" The crowd was pretty into it right from the beginning. He looked sooo good!!!! Had on the black coat with purple trim and black leather pants. When he finished, he asked the crowd "Yall warm enough???" and made some comments about summer in Georgia.
He then talked about the new CD and sang "Too Much Month....." which he respectfully sent up to the White House. After that, he said, "Somebody say 'welllllllll'." We did. He said we sucked, although I thought we did pretty good, so he told us to try again. We did better that time, so he started singing "The Whiskey Ain't Workin' ". After that was "This One's Gonna Hurt You". The crowd was really singing along on both songs. Marty would ask us "How long will it hurt?" and we'd all sing '"A long, long time!" He told everyone to buy the new CD, try it out for a couple of weeks and "send it to Travis Tritt if you don't like it. He'll give you your money back!"
Marty seemed to be enjoying himself and commented several times about what a great place Stone Mountain was to have a concert. Also mentioned "doing it again next year" so maybe this will be a new Labor Day weekend tradition!! He introduced the band and naturally, everyone was from some town in Georgia. Before he sang "Farmer's Blues" he said they'd got into Atlanta about 6:00 in the morning, had breakfast at Waffle House and went to the studio to film a video for the song. Personally, I thought that was very neat and I can't wait to see the video!
I'm always too caught up in the Marty moment to remember what order the songs come in, but he did "A Satisfied Mind," "Tempted," "Burn Me Down," "Rock Island Line," "Now That's Country" (after asking the audience to "raise your hand if you've ever peed off the porch"), and Kenny did "Country Music's Got A Hold On Me" after much playful encouragement from the audience and Marty. The train tracks run right across the lawn and at one point the train went by with it's whistle blowing and Marty interrupted whatever it was he was singing with "I hear that train a coming, it's rolling 'round the bend.....", then he went on with his song!
The crowd was very responsive and involved the entire show, but I think the two most popular songs of the evening were "Southern Accent" and "Scattered, Smothered and Covered With Love" (the Waffle House song) - he had the audience rolling on the lawn with that one and everyone was singing along by the last chorus.
All too soon it was time for "Hillbilly Rock," but the crowd kept cheering so they came back and did "Draggin' the Line" (I think that's the name of it - it's an old rock song that Marty and the band did a wonderful job on), then they were gone again.
There was a huge crowd for the meet and greet and Marty was late getting there. Merle had already started his show before Marty even showed up! Merle wasn't even announced - just walked out and started singing. He basically did the hits, plus his new song "That's The News." I'd never thought about Merle Haggard being funny, but he cut up a lot. When he was singing "If You've Got The Money..." he said "we'll go honky tonkin' and we'll have a brawl....I mean ball!" He did that kind of thing several times and also joked about all the ex-cons in the crowd and his ex-wives. He'd start talking about a song and say "Now who was I married to then???" The audience really got into his show too, singing and clapping along, especially during "Fighting Side of Me" and "Okie from Muskogee."
Marty interrupted the signing and posing to join Merle for "Working Man Blues", which brought the house down. Merle said he'd really loved touring with Marty and thanked him for joining him for a song. They really seemed to enjoy performing together.
Marty went back to signing autographs even though it was completely dark by this time. We waited for awhile, but there were so many people and the line didn't seem to be moving, so we finally decided to leave. I really hated giving up the opportunity to get a Marty hug, but since I'm seeing him again on Saturday night, I figured I could wait that long!!! :)
Review by Judy Simonton, Lawrenceville, GA
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