Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn Thursday, Nov. 20, at the Arena
Country superstars Reba McEntire and Brooks & Dunn put on a fantastic visual and musical feast Thursday night at the Arena.
The seamless production featured split-second timing, a center stage with numerous elevators and a turntable, fireworks and a lively light show of geometric designs.
The concert began with a bang. As music exploded, the huge white curtain, funneled around the heart of the stage, lifted while splashed with flickering lights. Reba and Brooks & Dunn descended from the ceiling on a small platform, singing and playing “Travelin’ Band.”
Half the large center stage opened up to reveal her band and backup singers, who stayed in this pit through most of their set.
After that opening number, Kix Brooks and Ronnie Dunn disappeared as part of the stage slowly dropped, and Reba took over.
Dressed in black pants, a black vest and blue-sequined blouse and wearing a head mike, a regal Reba launched into the saucy “Why Haven’t I Heard From You.”
On “How Was I To Know,” she danced around the stage with confidence and grace, smiling and waving while prowling around the circular stage across an elevated walkway to a high platform at the far end of the floor.
Everyone had a close-up view of her, thanks to a couple of video cameras that shot images to four giant screens hanging from the ceiling.
After demonstrating her vocal mastery on some of her older hits, she earned her first standing ovation on “I’d Rather Ride Around With You.” Her tight band matched the sound of the song on the album, “What If It’s You,” her latest. Scenes from around Spokane alternated on the screens with shots of Reba pointing to the crowd every time she sang the title words.
She earned another standing ovation with “The Fear Of Being Alone,” acting out the song around the stage.
Her duet with Linda Davis crowned the set. Standing in the middle of the stage, Reba began “Does He Love You.” A spotlight hit the platform at the far end of the floor as Davis rose on an elevator singing. She strolled across the walkway, slowly approaching Reba while belting out her verses.
While they faced one another in the center of the main stage, a turntable rotated the two for the emotional end to the ballad about a woman’s message to her lover’s wife.
Reba finished with “Fancy” and sank through the stage.
With no intermission and hardly a pause between songs, Brooks & Dunn uncorked “Little Miss Honky Tonk.” The stage covered Reba’s band as the other half opened to show the boys’ musicians.
Their set list came off their latest album, “The Greatest Hits Collection.”
With a strobe flashing, wild man Kix Brooks danced a jig and the fiddler soloed before breaking into a rousing rendition of “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.” Brooks brought a young girl onto the platform for a short dance and hug while Dunn kept the song going.
Some other highlights were a strong Dunn vocal on “A Man This Lonely,” the rocking “Honky Tonk Truth” and a well-earned standing ovation after “My Maria.”
For a couple of ballads, the guys sat on stools elevated off the stage some three feet. Rotating thanks to the turntable, they performed a slowed acoustic version of the great “Neon Moon.” Because the original is so good, this was a bit of a disappointment.
“Rock My World (Little Country Girl)” featured four huge blowup plastic girls that shook and shimmied as Brooks and Dunn prompted the crowd to join in the chorus.
They finished with four more hard-driving numbers, with band members all over the stage on fiery renditions of “Hard Workin’ Man” and “Brand New Man.”
Reba returned for a ballad duet with Dunn. The grand finale came with those two at center stage as fireworks shot off down the walkway leading up to more explosions as Brooks shot through the platform floor. After that rockin’ finish to a fun night, they disappeared behind the curtain and credits rolled on the screen.
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