Dolly Parton’s Blue Smoke Tour Brings the Fire

Star of the Desert Arena, Jan. 25

Photo by Myron Hensel

Photo by Myron Hensel

While I have always admired Dolly Parton and her iconic music such as “Jolene,” “9 to 5” and the original “I’ll Always Love You,” I didn’t join the wagon train until I saw her photographic collaboration with David LaChapelle, who captured the singer’s mid-mod country-demure sex appeal for the Technicolor Times in a series of tongue-in-cheek images.

A deity of big hair, bigger boobs and blinding sequins, the 68-year-old legend brought the fire of the Smoky Mountains to Star of the Desert Arena in Primm on January 25. The audience was as diverse as Dolly’s musical talents. (She played about 10 instruments during the course of the show—each skinned in sequins to match her outfit.) Children and adults of all ages flocked to see her, including Dolly impersonators (male and female).

The show was a solid two hours with a 20-minute intermission (Dolly had to do a wardrobe change!) and the Stateline stop was only the second on the Blue Smoke world tour, which will soon take her to Australia and New Zealand. Her new material flowed effortlessly into her classics—junior artists take note—intercut with endearing stories about her late father cleaning bird droppings off a bronze statue of her in her hometown and quips such as, “It takes a lot of money to look this cheap.” When they made Dolly, they broke the mold, and an evening in her presence is an unforgettable experience. ★★★★★