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Brooks and Dunn

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Brooks and Dunn
September 25, 2005-
Tweeter Center
Rock 'Hillbilly' Style
By: Rory Flynn

Don't believe the title of Brooks and Dunn's latest album because these guys are defiantly not your typical hillbillies. When they stepped onto the Tweeter Center stage on Sunday night, September 25, the country duo showed they could rock with pure energy and an extravagant stage show that seemed more fitted for an arena rock show. Sure Kenny, Toby, and Keith may be country's biggest names these days but the veteran country duo of Kix Brooks and Richard Dunn proved that they still have the talent and a catalog full of hits to prove their rightful standing at the top of country music.

Brooks and Dunn, along with their impressive eight-man band and three back-up singers, opened the night with "Red Dirt Road." Surprisingly, they played only two songs from the band's latest release, Hillbilly Deluxe. From their 90-minute set, they were "Get Out Of Town" and "Play Something Country," the latter of which lived up to its title by including all the essential country instruments from the steel guitar to the fiddle and harmonica.

Instead of pushing its new material, Brooks and Dunn made this show a fans delight with set list dedicated to all the greatest hits over their 14-year career. Highlights went from the elegant ballad "It's Getting Better All The Time" to a sing-a-long of "Neon Moon" to "My Maria", where the two shared perfect harmonies despite supposedly struggling from strained vocal cords prior to the show. Brooks and Dunn kicked it up a notch with rocking versions of "Brand New Man" and "Boot Scootin Boogie."

The band's stage show took off during "Rock My World" as two inflatable girls riding a mechanical bull (at least 20 feet tall) edged each side of the stage, while a racy video of ladies dancing played in the back.

"That's What It's All About" featured a montage of Brooks and Dunn with their families while "You're Gonna Miss Me" also featured a video tribute. Brooks introduced that song by saying "It's time to quit grieving and celebrate the good times" as the stage video screens rotated through portraits of late-legends that influenced the band, from musician Ray Charles, to racecar driver Dale Earnhardt, to Pope John Paul II.

Brooks and Dunn were very playful with the crowd throughout the night. Brooks jokingly shared stories and launched t-shirts into the crowd with a propelling gun. Dunn had his act down to a science, as he caught a drumstick from a stagehand, hit the cowbell for a few beats, and then tossed it into the crowd and repeated endlessly.

With a banner of the American flag displayed across the stage video screens, the band closed with a beautiful rendition of "Only In America." During the middle of the patriotic anthem, a United States Marine marched out to the middle of the stage and saluted the crowd to a tender and rousing ovation.

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