Dolly Parton proves they don’t make them like they used to.
The rhinestone-clad 68-year-old showed no signs of slowing as she wowed fans in Melbourne on Tuesday with her first Australian Blue Smoke show.
Parton strutted around the stage displaying an extraordinary breadth of talent, playing the banjo, autoharp and mandolin to complement her pitch-perfect voice.
But it wasn’t until the last three classics – Islands in the Stream, 9 to 5 and the encore I Will Always Love You – that the audience was on its feet.
Parton punctuated songs from her new album, covers and classics with stories about her life growing up in a poor family on a Tennessee farm.
She told the crowd about her late father going to the courthouse under the cover of darkness to clean a bronze statue of Parton that had been built in her honour.
The country music legend also reminded fans her mother had had 12 children by the time she was 35.
“We weren’t Catholics, we were just a bunch of horny hillbillies,” she joked.
The title track of her new album, the upbeat Blue Smoke, had the crowd clapping, as Parton bopped across the stage acting out train wheel movements.
Slower numbers such as Banks of the Ohio involved Parton’s whole band singing the gorgeous harmonies, and she did a powerful version of Bob Dylan’s Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.
Some of Parton’s banter about God at times seemed preachy and the images on the screen behind her of people holding hands and an animated butterfly were cheesy.
But that’s Dolly and it is hard not to smile at the gaudy old girl with a voice clear as a bell and a big heart.
Parton will perform again at Melbourne’s Rod Laver Arena on Wednesday before heading to Adelaide.Continue Reading →