Review: Dolly Parton at UCCU Center

Dolly Parton’s performance Tuesday night at the UCCU Center showed that the 70-year-old star can still put on a show.  Dolly apologized for a slight cough and a case of the sniffles – not that it affected her singing performance at all.

“Me with a chest cold is like a giraffe with a sore throat,” Parton said. She kept those jokes coming all night.

The “backwoods Barbie” commanded the stage in a dress dripping with rhinestones. Parton busted out “Jolene,” and then treated the audience to new songs from her latest album Pure & Simple, an album she said was entirely of love songs.

Miss Parton is a beautiful storyteller. She told of growing up in a poor family of 12 children with parents who taught her the value of hard work, humility and acceptance.

“Everybody should be proud of where they’re from and who they are,” Parton said. “We had all the kind of stuff that money doesn’t buy: love, compassion and kindness.”

When Dolly sang “Coat of Many Colors,” the love she has for her mother and her upbringing was right there on stage. She expertly played the steel guitar for “Tennessee Mountain Home” as she told of the homesickness she experienced as a young performer.

“I graduated from high school on a Friday night, and on Saturday morning I hopped on a Greyhound to go find stardom,” Parton said.

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The show’s atmosphere was very personal as Parton continued to tell stories and make the audience laugh. I’m firmly convinced that Dolly Parton can play any instrument she touches; she played an acoustic guitar, an electric guitar, a steel guitar, a fiddle, a banjo, a saxophone and a baby grand piano. In true Dolly fashion, every instrument is decorated with plenty of sparkles.

Parton got the crowd going when she brought up insanity of the current presidential election.

“I was thinking I might run,” Parton said to an explosion of cheers. “I’ve got the hair for it! I’m a self-made woman, and I’ve got the doctor’s bills to prove it!”

Dolly then showcased her southern gospel roots with renditions of “The Seeker” and “Precious Memories.”

After a short intermission – with an expected hair and outfit change — Parton used her strong and soulful voice to sing a few measures of Alicia Keys’ “Girl on Fire.” Dolly can sing whatever she wants as loud as she wants, and we would never want her to stop. Parton performed a few songs from the Trio albums, originally recorded alongside Emmylou Harris and Linda Ronstadt. The party really got started when Dolly sang “Here You Come Again,” “Two Doors Down,” “Islands in the Stream,” and a dance-worthy version of “9 to 5.”

Parton closed the night with “I Will Always Love You,” and I’d be lying if I said I didn’t eek out an itty bitty tear.

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