Country star Daniels plays Benton concert

Monday, June 2, 2003

BENTON, Mo. -- In her 67 years, Barbara Caraway has been to 22 Charlie Daniels Band concerts.

"I've been a fan all my life. I just love him," said Caraway, who lives in Cape Girardeau.

Caraway and around 750 other people turned out Sunday night at the Auto Tire & Parts Race Track in Benton to hear the 66-year-old Daniels sing about barstools, lost love and rowdy crowds.

The concert crowd itself was a little rowdy, with at least two people escorted out by the Missouri State Highway Patrol in the first 20 minutes of the show.

As Daniels took the stage, famous fiddle in hand and trademark white cowboy hat on his head, the boisterous audience erupted in applause and shrieks.

It was the fourth Daniels concert that Brandon Stroud of Johnston City, Ill., has attended.

"This has been excellent," Stroud said. "He always does a great job, and I've been a big fan for a long time."

The fans might have been pleased with Daniels' performance, but race track owner Jerry Wolsey wasn't pleased with the attendance. He said he had expected about 3,000 people when he booked Daniels to play.

"It's very disappointing," Wolsey said. "Especially when he drew 10,000 people last night in Valdosta, Ga. It's embarrassing."

The size of the crowd didn't appear to influence Daniels' fervent fiddle playing. The six-member band played songs from several of the 40-plus albums Daniels has recorded over the past three decades.

The show also allowed Daniels to promote his most recent album, "Red Neck Fiddlin' Man." But most concertgoers came with one song in mind: The 1979 Grammy-award-winning "The Devil Went Down to Georgia."

"It's my favorite," said Jenny Allen of Fredericktown, Mo. "But he has so many good songs. I like that he's traditional, pure country."

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