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17 Oct 09 Big Concert Before the Big Game

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All the ingredients were there: the night before the big game, a huge audience, a beer sponsorship, a honky tonk with historical roots, and two Texas super acts.

Friday night’s concert at Gilley’s Dallas, featuring the Eli Young Band and Kevin Fowler, was the perfect storm of Texas music.

Many years ago (this pre-dates the Urban Cowboy rage of the 1980s) I saw David Allan Coe at Gilley’s in Pasadena. It was an experience I will never forget. And while the current version in south Dallas will never be mistaken for the original “world’s largest honky tonk,” it was still a great venue for a great set of performances. The atmosphere was authentic Texas.

The venue was filled with fans in town for Saturday’s Texas-Oklahoma football game at the Cotton Bowl. Attractive young ladies worked their way through the crowd, passing out Mardi Gras-like beads, with Texas and OU emblems attached. Bud Light was the sponsor, with banners hanging everywhere pronouncing that fact.

I guess the biggest question facing promoters would be deciding which of the two stars would be the featured act. As it turned out, Fowler opened up the evening, bringing his brand of high energy entertainment that he is so known for. Few performers can work a crowd like Fowler can.

After a very quick change of staging, EYB came out and entertained the audience. I was pleasantly surprised. Given the fact that there were two big acts, I expected the second performance to last about an hour. But almost two hours later, Mike Eli was still on stage, now joined by Fowler, singing their trademark closing cover of the Beatles’ “Come Together.” Eli introduced the song by saying Fowler didn’t know all the words, but that he doubted that anyone really knows the words.

The truly amazing aspect of the evening was that the tickets were free – of course, they were available through local radio stations. Fowler joked that his audience was truly getting its money’s worth, for a change. But regardless of the cost, anyone attending a show from either of these acts always leaves happy. Friday night was no exception. Now, if only the Texas-OU game can provide as much entertainment!

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