March 31, 1995

Alan Jackson’s Appeal Goes Beyond Country

Joe Ehrbar Correspondent
 

Alan Jackson Wednesday, March 29, the Coliseum

Country fan or not, you can’t help but like Alan Jackson.

The tall, ruggedly handsome entertainer is a world-class showman, a top-notch singer and a talented songwriter.

And on Wednesday night, before a nearly sold-out Coliseum crowd, Jackson put all three together and rendered a terrific set.

The concert was so awesome and so inspired, it was almost overwhelming.

Never did Jackson’s performance lag. He maintained the audience’s enthusiasm, cranking out one hit after another. In turn, the audience’s roaring cheers grew exponentially as the night progressed.

Song highlights included the heartwarming “Chasing That Neon Rainbow,” the soft, yearning “Tonight I Climb the Walls,” the boot-stomping Hank Williams song “Mind Your Own Business” and the good-times “Chattahoochee.”

Once again, Jackson and his band of Strayhorns were accompanied by a heck of a high-tech stage show, complete with an array of robotic lights, a camera crew and video screens. The extravagant production was just another way Jackson lured the audience in.

The three camera men shot live footage, which was projected onto the video screens. On some songs, Jackson’s actual videos were intertwined with the live concert footage. The whole production made it seem like we were watching one continuous music video.

And, audience response only reconfirmed that Jackson, in addition to everything else, is a major sex symbol.

Jackson’s performance of “Midnight in Montgomery” - a dark and eerie recounting of Jackson’s visit to the grave of his fallen hero Hank Williams - was especially memorable.

What made the show even more of a delight was that the Coliseum’s acoustics were surprisingly good. You could actually decipher most of the Jackson’s lyrics.

Opening act Lee Roy Parnell did exactly what an opening band should do - fire up the audience.

He did it with a truckload of barreling, upbeat honky-tonk stompers.

Diverse influences of the blues, jazz and western swing flourished in Parnell’s music, making the country singer’s set both exciting and worthwhile.

The Spokane audience really took a liking to Parnell, which prompted him to say: “Wish we would have had you with us last night.”

At the end of his set, the energetic crowd saluted Parnell and his band with a standing ovation.

xxxx HIGHLIGHT A stirring performance of “Midnight in Montgomery.”

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