Starting this week, All Things Country will start a weekly post I like to call our Legends Corner. Each week we will honor the country of old with reviews of some of country music’s greatest songs as well as concert reviews and news stories. It would be only fitting to start off our Legends Corner with a review of a recent George Jones concert I attended. Read on to see the review.
Country music legend George Jones visited the small town of Camp Verde, Arizona last Saturday and delivered a solid 90-minute set that spawned hits from throughout his illustrious career. The man known as “The Possum” kicked off his set with a noticeably slower version of his hit, “Why Baby Why.” Backed by his band the Jones Boys, George sailed right into his hit “Once You’ve Had the Best.”
Throughout his show, Jones constantly made it known that his raspy voice was the result of allergies acting up as a result of the outdoor venue. It was more noticeable on the more uptempo songs like the opener as well as “The Corvette Song” where the lyrics could barely be heard as well as “White Lightening” which was the end of a medley of some of Jones’ biggest hits including “The Grand Tour,” “Walk Through This World With Me,” and “She Thinks I Still Care.” However, the raspy voice didn’t stop Jones from making sure the senior citizen-dominated audience left happy.
One of the highlights of the night was when Jones delivered his brilliant song, “Who’s Gonna Fill Their Shoes,” after saying he wasn’t a big fan of today’s “hot, new country radio.” During the song the big screen flashed pictures of past country legends like Waylon Jennings, Johnny Cash, Merle Haggard, Buck Owens, and many, many more. At the end of the song, George seemed to have answered the song title’s question of who’s gonna fill their shoes by showing pictures of current artists Kenny Chesney, Sara Evans, Alan Jackson, and Carrie Underwood. Other highlights included the duets “Take Me” and “Gold Ring” which background singer Brittany Allyn joined George on.
As the show wound down Jones delivered the song that has become one of the greatest – and saddest – songs ever written, “He Stopped Loving Her Today.” The performance brought the crowd to its feet and Jones capitalized on their energy to finish with his racous hit, “I Don’t Need No Rockin’ Chair.”
It’s clear the 78 year old George Jones has lost a few steps that he had back in his prime. All the uptempo songs, and some of the slower tunes, were slowed way down to allow the singer to keep up with the band. There were also a few fiddle solos thrown in to give Jones a small break throughout the set. Despite the slower production, the audience was still treated to a fantastic night of traditional country music from one of the genre’s finest singers.