Live review: Dixie Chicks, PNC Music Pavilion (8/13/2016)

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Dixie Chicks
PNC Music Pavilion
Aug. 13, 2016

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In the age of social media, when you think about the comments people make about presidents and presidential candidates, it seems kind of silly that the Dixie Chicks were so harshly viewed for making the statement, "we're ashamed the President of the United States is from Texas" about then-president George W. Bush.

It's been a rocky 10 years since that statement was made — a decade that saw the Dixie Chicks playing shows here and there but hesitating to hit the road for an extended run. Singer Natalie Maines, a big fan of Howard Stern, would often appear on his Sirius XM radio show and say she felt unsure about how fans would receive them after the 2006 blacklisting by country radio.

Now, as time has passed and fans have constantly turned out for sporadic shows over the years, the Dixie Chicks are in the midst of a 40-date run during which the ladies are being welcomed back with open arms by their fan base and the Charlotte show was no different. 

Fans and the band alike were all smiles throughout the more than two-hour performance that included a handful of cover songs, plenty of hits and a short tribute to Prince. 

The trio — Maines along with sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison — walked out to a massive round of applause, a clear sign that their North Carolina fans have been waiting for quite a while to see the band live. The excitement waned a bit as the Dixie Chicks rifled through a handful of tunes before landing on the appropriate "Long Time Gone." 

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For a good while, the backdrop for the set was simple black and white imagery. When they took a moment to pay tribute to Prince, the lighting turned purple, the backdrop offered his symbol and Maines belted out a beautiful "Nothing Compares 2 U." 

For "Goodbye Earl," the imagery remained black and white, using mostly old film footage until the Chicks made a statement by showing footage of Chris Brown, O.J. Simpson and eventually Donald Trump. 

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The second half of the show is where the band hit full stride. They performed a few songs acoustically with their backing band, including a cover of Beyonce's "Daddy Lessons" before the trio stood alone to play an instrumental bluegrass medley. 

From there, it was a string of hits including "Ready to Run," a cover of Dylan's "Mississippi" and Fleetwood Mac's "Landslide" before the band cruised through its biggest hits, "Cowboy Take Me Away," "Wide Open Spaces" and "Sin Wagon." 

The band offered a two-song encore of "Not Ready to Make Nice" and a cover of Ben Harper's "Better Way." Maines wore a "No Hate in Our State" ballcap similar to the ones handed out to fans before the show. 

For the duration of the set, the band played as if it never took any break or hiatus and sounded as strong as ever. One can only hope the welcome return will inspire new music and more touring.

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Setlist
The Long Way Around
Lubbock or Leave It
Truth #2 (Patty Griffin cover)
Easy Silence
Some Days You Gotta Dance
Long Time Gone
Nothing Compares 2 U (Prince cover)
Top of the World (Patty Griffin cover)
Goodbye Earl
Travelin' Soldier (Bruce Robison cover)
Don't Let Me Die in Florida (Patty Griffin cover)
Daddy Lessons (Beyoncé cover)
White Trash Wedding
Instrumental Bluegrass Medley
Ready to Run
Mississippi (Bob Dylan cover)
Landslide (Fleetwood Mac cover)
Cowboy Take Me Away
Wide Open Spaces
Sin Wagon

Encore
Not Ready to Make Nice
Better Way

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