PHOTOS BY GLENDA S. PARADEE
Reba brought the house down at the Footprint Center in Phoenix, Arizona on March 30, 2023. Terri Clark and The Issacs opened the show for her.
What an amazing show Reba put on with her great band and her amazing vocals. Reba looked beautiful in her stunning gowns and outfits too.
McEntire, who won the Country Music Association’s entertainer of the year honor in 1986, and in 2018 received the prestigious Kennedy Center Honors, had the audience on their feet and cheering before the first note. The audience never sat down the whole show.
She began her headlining set with her first No. 1 hit, 1982’s “Can’t Even Get the Blues,” followed by her most recent chart-leader, the 2011 Hot Country Songs No. 1 “Turn on the Radio.” “Thanks to y’all, those were No. 1 records — my first and latest,” McEntire said. “In between is a lot of life, love and hairspray,” she quipped. Not to mention nearly two dozen additional chart-topping hits, many of which filled her set list, including “Ride Around With You,” “Little Rock,” and two of her most dramatic hits, “Whoever’s in New England” and “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.”
She noted her current work on the Lifetime movie The Hammer and the ABC series Big Sky, both of which find McEntire working with her boyfriend, actor Rex Linn. “He’s definitely my somebody,” she told the audience, launching into her 2004 chart-topper by the same title.
Donning a long, sparkling blue dress, McEntire devoted an entire segment of her set to songs plumbing the nuances of a broken heart.
“I love singing sad songs. Sometimes I feel like it’s the glue of country music. Sometimes when your heart is broke, you just need to waller in it,” McEntire said in that unmistakable Oklahoma twang, before adding these were some of her “favorite wallering songs.”
She offered some of her most vulnerable performances here, both love and pain etched into her expressions, on the 1990s chart-toppers “And Still” and “You Lie,” the 1980s songs “Somebody Should Leave,” and “The Last One to Know,”
At the end of the segment, and clearly finished “wallering,” McEntire ripped away the lower half of the dress to reveal sparkle-fringe short skirt as the fiery, determined side of the multi-faceted entertainer returned with the determined “Consider Me Gone”.
Later in the set, she addressed a different type of pain — a daughter who never heard the words “I Love You” from her stoic father — as the crowd hung on to every word of “The Greatest Man I Never Knew,” while images of McEntire’s late father, steer roping champion Clark McEntire, who died in 2014, flickered across the screen.
“I had my mama’s will, but I had a lot of my daddy in me, too,” McEntire said.
Brooks & Dunn appeared virtually on the large center screen to accompany McEntire on “Oklahoma Swing,” which McEntire had a top 20 hit with in 1990 as a hit with Vince Gill. During the early days of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, McEntire welcomed Gill for a rare live performance of their 1993 power ballad duet “The Heart Won’t Lie” on the stage of the Grand Ole Opry House. Gill did not appear in-person, but rather via a virtual performance.
She welcomed longtime friend Clark back to the stage as the women paid homage to one of their favorite vocalists, Linda Ronstadt. They traded lines and were clearly relishing in the moment to collaborate as they sailed through “You’re No Good,” “When Will I Be Loved” and “Heat Wave.”
McEntire, who won her third Grammy in 2018, for her gospel album Sing It Now: Songs of Faith and Hope, also devoted a segment to several classic hymns, including “Oh Happy Day,” “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” as well as “Back to God”. She invited The Issacs to come out and sing with her on these songs.
The evening closed out with the awesome “Fancy,” which McEntire has often closed her shows with. The band led an extended vamp before McEntire appeared in a pale blue dress to sing the story of a woman whose mother “Spent every last penny we had to buy me a dancin’ dress,” and thus setting into motion the rags-to-riches story. The song’s midpoint brought one of the concert’s rare pyrotechnic moments, as sparks soared to the ceiling in front of McEntire, fading to reveal her resplendent in a red sparkling dress, with her thousand-watt smile, a victor after hard-fought journey, reveling in a triumphant ending.
Opening for Reba were The Issacs, who put on a fantastic show with songs including, "If That Isn't Love", "You're The Inspiration" and many more wonderful songs. And Terri Clark, played hit after hit, including “Poor, Poor Pitiful Me,” "Better Things To Do", “Girls Lie, Too”, and many more.
More on Terri Clark:
In the mid-1990s, Clark set herself apart from other female artists by taking a page out of the playbook of the hit male artists of the time, becoming one of the few female artists at the time to regularly wear a cowboy hat — evoking a style of honky-tonk glamour that perhaps owed more to artists like Dwight Yoakam than any number of female artists.
But over the ensuing decades, she’s of course proven herself has much more than a “hat act.” Like many of her musical heroes, Clark co-wrote many of her hits (including “Better Things to Do,” “Boy Meets Girl,” “You’re Easy on the Eyes,” “In My Next Life” and “Emotional Girl”). She also sang traditionalist-leaning music in a country music era often dominated by power-pop, and wasn’t afraid to stay true to herself regardless of what musical style was “in fashion.” Clark is a too-often under-heralded influence on today’s female artists.
During her set, Clark shared the story of how a song she wrote by herself, “If I Were You,” changed her life. She wrote the song when she was 21 and going through marriage struggles. She turned to a female friend, who was single, for advice, and later wrote the song based on that experience.
She recalled being turned down by record labels, before singing “If I Were You” as part of her audition for Mercury Records Nashville in 1994.
“I have this song to thank for the record deal, and to thank for paying for the divorce,” she deadpanned, to the cheers of the audience.
And the cheering didn’t end there. The crowd half-sang, half-shouted every word of “Better Things to Do,” to the point that Clark turned the singing duties over to the audience for entire final chorus, and they capably sang as though the song were a current chart hit.
More on The Issacs
Multifaceted award-winning group The Isaacs have spent five decades creating the undeniable family harmonies and distinct sound that have made them a favorite among audiences everywhere.
They are currently on tour with country superstar Reba McEntire and writing for their next album project that will take them in the studio this summer with renowned producer-extraordinaire, Dave Cobb.
As matriarch Lily and her three children Ben, Sonya and Becky celebrate their 50th anniversary, the 2021 Grand Ole Opry inductees and Gospel Music Hall of Famers continue to build on the legacy first launched by the family back in 1971, with a newfound excitement and never-waning passion for the music they love to make.
The masterful vocalists, instrumentalists and songwriters are known for their ability to bridge and blend genres, and their sound has led to invites from high-profile contemporaries including Dolly Parton, Reba McEntire, Vince Gill, Alison Krauss, Paul Simon and many more to sing on over 50 albums and share many stages across the country.
The group’s origins reach back decades. The Isaacs first started playing on the Grand Ole Opry 30 years ago, and are frequent guests on the weekly show. They play over 100 dates a year for fans around the world, and have performed on prestigious stages like Carnegie Hall, entertained fans at CMA Fest, the "CMA Country Christmas" special and many more.
The much-lauded group has also been nominated and performed on numerous awards shows, including the Grammys, GMA Dove Awards, where they have earned 19 Dove Awards collectively in various categories. They have also won trophies at the International Bluegrass Music Association Awards, the Singing News Fan Awards and the Inspirational Christian Country Awards. Three of their recent projects received consecutive Grammy nominations for “Best Roots Gospel Album” and “Best Roots Gospel Song.”
They often tour internationally, traveling to South Africa, Norway, Holland, Scotland, Ireland, Israel, Canada, the Faroe Islands, and more to bring their musical messages to fans around the globe.
The Isaacs started a non-profit organization called The Isaacs Foundation to bless the less fortunate in America. They have also raised hundreds of thousands of dollars to bless Israel, specifically Holocaust survivors, orphans and “lone” soldiers. They frequently guide hundreds of guests on a pilgrimage to Israel and explore the Holy Land through a unique and exclusive lens.
“Our goal is to use the blessings of all the doors God is opening for us to share the message of hope and love to as many people as we can,” says the family.
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT REBA, GO TO: Reba McEntire
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT TERRI CLARK, GO TO: Terri Clark
FOR MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE ISSACS, GO TO: The Isaacs :: Official artist site
THANKS FOR THE MUSIC REBA!
THANKS FOR THE MUSIC TERRI!
THANKS FOR THE MUSIC THE ISSACS!