With no introductions or small talk, Yoakam and his band started the set and didn’t stop until around the middle of his fourth song, “Streets of Bakersfield.”
By this time, I was already bouncing around in my seat, wishing I had a dance floor, some cowboy boots and a beer.
A duet with Buck Owens, “Streets of Bakersfield” became a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot Country Singles in 1988 and was an obvious crowd favorite Friday. When Yoakam got to the fourth stanza and begins to sing, “I spent some time in San Francisco,” all of a sudden, the music cuts out and every starts looking around trying to figure out what happened.
I was thinking, “Man, this can’t be happening to Dwight.”
But just as soon as it stopped, the music started back up and in place of “San Francisco,” Yoakam sang “I spent some time in Pikeville.”
He interrupted the song again and mumbled something about his mom spending more time in Pikeville in the hospital.
He playfully sang several variations on that lyric and inserted other Kentucky places like Prestonsburg, Floyd County, and eventually Richmond (which drew a big cheer).
Yoakam was born in Pikeville, raised in Columbus, Ohio, and spent most of his adult life in California, he told the crowd.
But you could tell by the buzz in the hall that the audience easily welcomed the Kentucky boy back home.
When the 56-year-old musician started out in the mid-1980s, he was “too country for Nashville,” according to his biography.
However, since the 1986 debut of his first album “Guitars, Cadillacs, Etc., Etc.,” Yoakam has sold more than 25 million albums worldwide. He’s had 12 gold albums and nine platinum or multi-platinum albums. He’s won two Grammys and earned 21 nominations.
Yoakam also has starred on the big screen.