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Reba brings the warmth on a cold night

Hollywood Bowl, Los Angeles, April 1, 2023

Reviewed by Dan MacIntosh

It may sound like an oxymoron, but Reba performed an outdoor concert in chilly Southern California. Yes, it is no April Fool's joke to say this was bundle up weather. Nothing could deter the irrepressible Reba, though, as she smiled and sang her heart out and appeared to love every minute of it.

This was a career retrospective show, of sorts, touching upon most of Reba's recorded career highlights. Of course, there were sad songs (a whole medley of them, as a matter of fact) that included the accurately descriptive "Tammy Wynette Kind of Pain" and represented the only part of the night (of course) that temporarily wiped the smile off of Reba's face. Well, the complicated and nostalgic (for some of us that still remember the Vicki Lawrence version) "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" was also anything but gleeful. However, Reba looked and sounded joyful while singing with Vince Gill (on video) during the swinging "Oklahoma Swing." This one spotlighted Reba's large and talented band that featured steel guitar and even two fiddles in many instances.

The night also included a Linda Ronstadt covers medley (duets with opener Terri Clark) and a gospel medley (with the other opener, The Isaacs). A set of Reba TV video clips allowed the singer/actress to change clothes into yet another sparkly outfit.

Reba ended the evening on a high note with the banger combination of "Take It Back" and "Why Haven't I Heard From You," before encoring with just one song, "Fancy." These finishers capped a fully satisfying night of music, which flew by. One had the feeling this was a superstar diva performance, but the generous kind, and not the self-indulgent variety. Sure, it was more show biz-y than most country concerts, but Reba pulled it off with style, grace and humility. Reba was on a big stage and most certainly belonged right there.

Clark preceded Reba with a solid set of spunky country songs that included "Girls Lie Too" and "Better Things to Do." Her small, but efficient band included a fiddler. She told the audience how she idolized Reba growing up in Canada when she took some guff for expressing her young cowgirl heart. She realized before many in her community Reba's greatness. The gospel family, The Isaacs, opened the evening with plenty of familial spiritual harmonies.

Reba proved to be well worth braving a little cold weather with her powerful singing and joyful presence. It just doesn't get much better than a Reba show.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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