Parton opened her set with the fiddle-driven bluegrass tune “Train, Train” and it was followed by the witty and fun “Why’d You Come in Here Lookin’ Like That,” which was a neat sing-along to.
She immediately broke into the classic “Jolene,” as well as the title track of her latest studio album “Pure & Simple,” prior to continuing with the nostalgic tunes “My Tennessee Mountain Home,” “Smoky Mountain Memories,” and her autobiographical signature tune “Coat of Many Colors” on autoharp, which she dedicated to her inspirational late mother, as she narrated her “stone soup” story.
Following the standing ovation she received for “Coat of Many Colors,” Parton remarked, “Momma would be so proud that you liked that.”
It was followed by “Banks of the Ohio” and an acoustic medley of classics such as “American Pie,” which she began a cappella, and Bob Dylan’s “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down.” She closed the first part of her act with such tunes as “The Seeker” and the gospel tune “I’ll Fly Away.”
She began the second act with “Baby, I’m Burnin'” and with the bluegrass number “The Grass Is Blue,” as well as such classics as “Do I Ever Cross Your Mind” and “Two Doors Down.”
Her Grammy-winning “Here You Come Again” was delightful, as was her version of “Islands in the Stream.” “I know you know this one,” she said.
Parton got the crowd on their feet as they were clapping along and singing to “9 to 5.” “I don’t believe I ever had an audience better than you, ever,” she said, graciously.
“I just want you to know that you’ve have touched my heart. If you’ve had a good time, cause I’ve had, then we are going to go home feeling mighty happy,” Parton said, prior to noting that she has had many special friends in the audience tonight. “Thank you so much, even though I don’t know all of you by name, I want you to know that I will always love you. That would make a good name for a song,” she said, prior to closing with “I Will Always Love You,” which she dedicated to all of her fans. “I look forward to seeing you again somewhere,” she added.
For her encore, she sang the “very personal tune,” which she had originally penned for September 11, 2001, entitled “Hello God.” “It wouldn’t hurt to pray more, and spread more acceptance and understanding in this world,” she said.
Overall, Dolly Parton gave it her all at Forest Hills Stadium in Queens, New York. She made the audience feel at home, as if they were a part of her timeless musical history. She interacted with the audience the entire evening, and all of them knew that they were in the presence of a true national treasure. The country empress deserves 5 out of 5 stars for one truly memorable “Pure & Simple” concert.
Digital Journal’s interview with Dolly Parton may be seen by clicking here.