The best concert in Cape history

Tuesday, April 23, 2002

If you missed the Kenny Chesney concert at the Show Me Center Friday night, you missed out on the best concert Cape Girardeau has ever seen.

I've never seen the Show Me Center more packed with people. There were still a lot of empty seats when the concert started a little after 7 p.m., but almost every seat filled as the night progressed.

The setup of the place was great. It reminded me of some backwoods country festival where you can reach out and touch the singers.

The front row was, at most, only about 10 feet from the stage, so during Phil Vassar's and Chesney's performances all of the screaming women in the front five rows rushed to the stage to touch them.

And since there were only three security guards watching over the stage, that wasn't a hard thing to do.

The funniest moment of the concert was when some drunk woman from the front row had her friends push her up on stage while Chesney was singing.

She started flailing her arms and legs all around -- which in her mind probably felt like dancing. She tried for a few seconds to touch him but he just ran the other direction. Before she knew what happened, the security guards had picked her up and dropped her back into the crowd.

One of the best things about the concert was the fact that the performers seemed like they were genuinely excited to be in this small Southeast Missouri town. I was impressed that three of the four performers actually pronounced Cape Girardeau correctly.

Sara Evans, a native of Missouri, elected not to say the name of our town. Instead she just said "Hello, Missouri."

I don't blame her. If you aren't familiar with the town, it might be hard to pronounce it under pressure. The first time I went to Cairo, Ill., I practiced for a week so I would pronounce it like the people there pronounce it and not like the people in Egypt pronounce the name of their capital. I failed when put on the spot.

The most enjoyable thing about the evening was that the crowd was not full of hoochie-mama I-dress-like-I-live-in-New-York-City-and-therefore-don't-own-a-shirt-that-covers-my-bellybutton 15-year-olds. Instead, there were fully dressed, nice-looking individuals of all ages.

That's part of the appeal of country concerts.

I used to work at Riverport Amphitheater in Maryland Heights, Mo., and let me just say there were some girls who came to concerts in what would have been considered risqué at a beach, let alone a concert.

How their mothers let them out of the house looking like they did I will never know.

My mom would have bopped me upside the head if I ever tried to leave the house in something like a backless, skin-tight halter top of sorts with no bra and shorts so short they might as well be underwear.

The least dressed person I saw at the concert was wearing a mini-skirt, tank top and a pair of cowboy boots.

Other people recognize that country folk know how to dress also.

Last month I went to the Jo Dee Messina and George Straight concert in Memphis, Tenn.

All of a sudden, in the middle her set, Messina started belting out Brittany Spears' "Hit Me Baby One More Time."

After singing the first verse and the chorus she stopped and said, "All you girls out there notice that I just sang that song with my clothes ON!"

The crowd went wild.

I've heard folks say that people who listen to country music are just bumpkins who like to whine about their lives.

Well, I'd rather be a fully dressed bumpkin than a half-dressed hoochie.

Heather Kronmueller is a staff writer for the Southeast Missourian.

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