Wednesday night, my mom and I went to Dolly Parton’s Pure and Simple show at the Vina Robles Amphitheatre in Paso Robles, Calif. We left earlier and stopped at Gabby’s Mexican Grill on the way – the portions were huge, the food was cheap and best of all, it was gooood. After we finished eating, we decided to stop at one of the little shops along the way; they sell nuts and other goodies. Since we still had time to kill after that, we pulled off for a bit to see the James Dean Memorial – the spot where he was killed. (There was also a fun sign that said “Beware of rattlesnakes.” Lucky for everyone, we didn’t see one.)We got to the venue just a tad early, around 5:30 or so. We parked and got out, but the gates didn’t open for another hour. The time passed off rather quickly, though. Eventually we got in, grabbed a coke and sat at one of the tables, where most people were drinking wine and other fancy drinks. After all, it is a winery and a beautiful one at that. It’s tucked away up on a small hill, so you can see the agriculture and fields all around as the sun set. Soon, we found our seats and waited for the show to start. One of my favorite things in life is when the lights dim, the crowd cheers and the artist you’ve paid to see walks out on stage for the first time. There’s nothing like that feeling. Especially when you’re seeing the one-and-only Dolly Parton.
It’s still surreal to me that I was able to see her. There’s no one else like Dolly – she set the bar for just about every female in country music to be able to write, sing, perform and be beautiful all at the same time. Dolly is one-of-a-kind and she puts on such a unique show experience. The evening felt like we were all just hanging out with Dolly on her front porch in Tennessee. She told stories of her childhood, about the songs that had become huge hits that everyone would sing along to and her faith in God and what that was like for her growing up. She was very candid and down-to-earth, much like you see her on TV. At first, it seemed like maybe she was lip-synching, but then it just dawned on me that she’s such a pro and has been doing this for so long that it just looks so natural to the audience when she sings.
There was a 20-minute intermission, so my mom and I attempted selfies with the Snapchat filters.
The second half of the show is when she really got the party started with her main hits, like “Two Doors Down,” “Islands in the Stream,” and of course, closed out the show with “I Will Always Love You.” Growing up, I knew Whitney Houston’s version and a little later on in life, found out Dolly had written it. It was never a song I liked all that much, and looking back, it was because I didn’t understand it. I had never experienced that kind of love. She wrote it for her good friend, Porter Wagoner. I’ve never been in love. Not real, true love anyway. So to me, when I hear it, I think of all the friends that have come and gone in my life. The ones that sometimes life just happens to and you have to go your separate ways. But, you’ll always love each other and cherish the moments when time stood still. I don’t think anything will ever top hearing her sing that live. She’s a legend and that’s a classic, timeless song that has never gone out of style. I don’t think I’ve ever been to a more intimate concert, where I walk away feeling like I have an even better understanding of that artist or his/her background. Dolly is phenomenal live, as if I really thought she was going to be otherwise. I’m so glad I got to share the experience with my mom for her Mother’s Day gift.
That’s all for now,