What can be said about Dolly Parton that hasn't already been said? I'm not sure, but I'll try.
Her recent concert at Radio City Music Hall was nothing short of amazing. Being a lifelong fan, I was well aware of the multiplicity of her talent (not just a singer, but an accomplished songwriter who can also pluck a string or twelve). Well, she sure schooled me good about the true range of her talent, playing several guitars (both acoustic and electric), flute, harmonica, dulcet, and fiddle (all of which were encrusted with glittering multi-coloured rhinestones). As a matter of fact, her instruments sparkled nearly as much as her personality!
The repertoire included several of Ms Parton's self-penned compositions spanning well over 40 years (including the tear-jerking 'Coat of Many Colors' and a rousing version of 'Jolene'). Additionally, there was new material from her forthcoming album of covers of late 60s/early 70s anti-war protest songs into which she astonishingly breathes new life. Outside of these selections, she threw in a few of her more obscure originals, including the show-stopping 'PMS Blues'.
Her witty repartee and candour shone through in the banter which ranged from time-tested, original one-liners ("You wouldn't believe how much it costs to look this cheap" and "I'm old enough to be that boy's lover") to some beautiful and insightful remarks on her passions ("Music is the voice of the soul") and the state of the world today (praying to God for peace on our planet). Of course she has this all down pat, but she really showed her mettle by handling several technical difficulties with impressive grace and aplomb ("The curtain was meant to fall down and surprise y'all, but it didn't, and instead surprised me!"). Ever the consummate professional, Ms Parton humorously circumvented sound and lighting problems (whilst testing a vocal mic implanted in her ample cleavage, she said "testing" and the reply echoed back "testing, testing, testing...").
She closed the show with an encore of two of her well-known religious anthems, 'Dear God' and 'He's Alive', but sadly, nothing further. Oh well, since the tour just started, I will probably get a chance to catch her again and maybe hear some variants in the set list. She'll be touring for a while because, as she said, she needs the money. It costs a lot to look that cheap.