But what to do with your old copy of Home? Well, give it to a friend, wait a few years...
Sue Keogh 2002
The history of most bands can be mapped by their discography. With the Dixie Chicks their disputes do just as good a job. There's the hullabaloo surrounding ''Goodbye Earl'', a song about killing a wife-beating husband, then there's their attack on everyone's friendly neighbourhood redneck Toby Keith and his song ''Courtesy Of The Red White And Blue'' and don't forget their lengthy battle with Sony over royalty payments (they won). More recently, during the Iraqi conflict, frontwoman Natalie Maines managed to upset most of middle America in one fell swoop when she claimed that she was 'ashamed' that President George W. Bush was from their home state of Texas. An Evening With The Dixie Chicks was recorded last August so there are no references to this latest storm. But it was first released around the time the real backlash began, just in time for it to be trampled on by tractors and burned by the radio stations who had banned the Dixie Chicks music from their airwaves.
What you get is two discs, one containing the concert and one with the album Home. Longtime fans of the band may be a little irritated to see it all being re-issued again, having bought it once last September, then again with the extra tracks (including a completely unimaginative remix of ''Landslide'' by Sheryl Crow). But for those who have managed to hold off so far they are onto a winner; Home was a very special album indeed and it's truly marvellous to be able to watch it being performed in its entirety.
And it is a faultless performance from one of the most important bands in country music to emerge in the last ten years. Co-produced between the Chicks and their producer (and Natalie's father) Lloyd Maines, you get a compelling insight to the standard of musicianship on the album; and the electric atmosphere in the impressive Kodak Theatre in Los Angeles is captured perfectly. Natalie Maines makes the perfect showwoman, headbanging along to the bluegrass hoedown that is ''White Trash Wedding'' and berating the crowd with a smile when they whoop during her explanation of the sad circumstances which inspired ''Godspeed''. Big cheers go up every time the serene Martie Maguire puts the bow to her fiddle and if they have wild enthusiasm for the new material, older tunes delivered in the encore really get the crowd going. 'We'll stuff you in the trunk, Earl!', they chorus cheerily.
But what to do with your old copy of Home? Well, give it to a friend, wait a few years then smile smugly when they tell you that that was the moment they got into country music...