Gig review: Dixie Chicks, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks. Picture: Getty Images

Emily Robison of the Dixie Chicks. Picture: Getty Images

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SUPERFICIALLY, Dixie Chicks may not display sufficient affinity with Prince to justify their use of Let’s Go Crazy as intro music or their faithful and rather forceful cover of Nothing Compares 2 U halfway through this set.

Dixie Chicks | Hydro, Glasgow | Rating: ***

But the Texan trio unwittingly earned their maverick stripes a decade ago when a simple, disparaging comment about George W Bush incensed the notoriously conservative country music constituency in their native US. The girls were, briefly, pariahs but stuck to their principled guns.

A vestige of that rebel stance could be glimpsed in this otherwise slick, efficient and expensive show. Ready to Run was accompanied by garish cartoons lampooning the current presidential bunfight and a generous red, white and blue confetti shower, and it became apparent that the group are far better company in irreverent bad girl mode, tearing through the rootsy ruckus of Patty Griffin’s Don’t Let Me Die In Florida and the lightning hoedown White Trash Wedding as part of a spirited acoustic interlude and delivering the rambunctious likes of Goodbye Earl and Sin Wagon with raspy relish.

However, much of the set defaulted to bland mid-paced country pop, sentimental balladry or blaring boogie, with the core trio’s bluegrass instrumentation and harmonies competing to be heard above their backing band’s arena-ready pop/rock blast. The plastic shindig of Long Time Gone raised the perennial country theme that modern music is devoid of soul – while making no attempt to disprove that hypothesis.

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