After a 10-year hiatus from touring in America, the Dixie Chicks performed to a sold-out Grandstand Saturday at the Minnesota State Fair. The performance marked the third stop in their new tour coined “DCX World Tour MMXVI.”
The sold-out venue thunderously welcomed the Dixie Chicks to the stage. However, there was no denying that hesitancy was just as palpable as the excitement in the Grandstand that night.
This conflict of emotions stems from a remark made by lead singer Natalie Maines back in 2003 when she said that her and her band mates, Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Erwin Robison, were “ashamed that the president of the United States [was] from Texas.” The remark also insisted that war and violence were not the solution after the U.S. had joined the Iraq War.
The remark led to the swiftest degeneration of a band seen in my lifetime. Radio stations no longer played the songs fans once adored and hit songs that once crowned billboard charts did not even grace the list. The members also received death threats, according to the Star Tribune.
Whether or not the crowd was ready to let the Chicks back into their lives had no impact on the continued outspoken opinions of the group. It was clear from the beginning that the Dixie Chicks kept their jaw set at this world-tour performance and a visible chip on their shoulders could be seen from even the nosebleed seats. Backing down or apologizing were not in the set list.
In fact, the group wove in political jabs from time to time, showing that they are still not afraid to speak their minds, and that they aren’t “Ready to Make Nice,” even if we are.
For example, during their hit song “Ready to Run,” a comical portrayal of the GOP, democrats, and even the President played in a loop. The candidates were shown wearing clown wigs and dancing inappropriately on the big screen behind them. “I’m gunna be ready this time…ready to run,” the three sang.
During the encore, the band also put their two cents in regarding the outbreak of violence in our world after performing “Not Ready to Make Nice” (ironically).
“There is way too much hate in this world,” Maines said. A rainbow-filled heart then filled the big screen as they sang their last song.
Controversy aside, the Dixie Chicks sounded as good as ever. They played hit songs like “Earl,” “Traveling Soldier,” “Long Time Gone,” “Cowboy Take Me Away” and more, all to the crowd’s pleasure. The grassroots band played a Prince song as a tribute, as well as a song from Beyonce’s new album, Lemonade.
Despite an amazing performance, the sad part about the phoenix-like rebirth of this Dixie Chicks tour is that the talented band may never be what they once were, and they will never realize what they could have been. People do not forgive easily. Even 13 years after the what seemed to be a grand fall from country stardom, we are still talking about the infamous Dixie Chick controversy.
“Maybe you won’t wait ten years to invite us back again,” Maines said to the crowd during the encore. As far as some were concerned, they never really were invited back. They didn’t get the Dixie Chicks from pre-2003, and that band is something that’s “Long Time Gone.”