Anaheim Arrowhead Pond

It's a guilty pleasure...

Undeniably, line dancing was the worst American invention of the 20th century. Thankfully there’s none of that tonight. This ain’t no hoedown. And why should it be? Live, the glammed up Texas-|ber babes, the Dixie Chicks toss a greater nod to their pop sensibilities then any old yeehaw, kooky, banjo-twiddling, grass-chewing, tobacco-spittin’, fiddle-stomping country. Praise the lord! And pint-sized pipsqueak, frontwoman Natalie Maines is so goofily endearing, she makes Shania look the dowdy old cow she probably is.

This ain’t no hillbilly audience either. Instead, there’s thousands of tube-topped, ten gallon hat glitter girlfriends and a pink boa massive to greet the Barbie-proportioned trio – fiddle player Martie Seidel, banjo/lap steel/acoustic guitar/ dobro (what?) maestro Emily Robinson, and Maines.

And quite a vigorous reception too, especially now that the Los Angeles Lakers have just won the NBA championship and the fellas in the front have turned their portable televisions off.

England may have lost, but Southern California is all celebrations. “I think tonight’s perfect,” Maines begins, “Cos if I feel a low from you guys I can just say the Lakers won.” Hurrahhhhhh! Though spirits may be riled up, it’s only an added boost to the sheer infectiousness of the Chicks, who storm through ‘If I Fall You’re Going Down With Me’, and ‘Some Days You Gotta Dance’. Even if a needling little voice really wishes it wasn’t.

They’re every bit as extravagant as *N Sync or even the Up In Smoke posse, but performing to 12,000, the Chicks manage to wrangle a sort of arena intimacy via a slide show of their ugly duckling days (yep, they really had them) during a set change, after which they loftily float through ‘Let Him Fly’, before the only shaky moment of the evening, a chirpy version of Sheryl Crow‘s ‘Strong Enough’.

Limp Bizkit‘s Fred Durst may have tried to show his appreciation for his fans at Saturday’s KROQ Weenie Roast by attempting to incite a riot, calling them down from the bleachers en masse to the field, but the Chicks take a turn on the notion and play it smart. Perhaps knowing the already potentially volatile nature of men in extreme bum-hugging jeans, chokers and slogging beer for Los Angeles, the Chicks go to them. Rather than risk say, crushing someone’s lungs or limbs in the pit, they spread out among their flock, each one spotlighted in a different section of the seats as they charm their way through the riotous ‘Goodbye Earl’.

It’s a guilty pleasure that should by all rights make a man long for a week of roughing it on say, Shack‘s ‘Streets of Kenny’, but after the sheer poptastic fun of tonight, who would want to?