Review: Dwight Yoakam at the Palladium 

click to enlarge Dwight Yoakam - CHRISTIAN DOELLNER

Dwight Yoakam
Palladium at Center for the Performing Arts
Saturday, April 28

What a difference a low-slung cowboy hat makes, especially when it’s the country music equivalent of Clark Kent’s glasses. How else to reconcile Dwight Yoakam: charismatic “honky tonk” star and Dwight Yoakam: feral character actor? The later — swiveling hips at the ready — was center stage Saturday night at Carmel’s Palladium.

click to enlarge Dwight Yoakam at the Palladium - CHRISTIAN DOELLNER

Deadpan Yoakam was more than capable of holding his own against good-natured audience outbursts which stirred Yoakam’s dry wit — "I might be more forthcoming with my affection if it wasn't so dark." To a piercing female squeal, he remarked, “I might have to send you back to the car.”

The ghost of Buck Owens emerged throughout the evening. Yoakam covered several songs associated with Owens and the Bakersfield Sound, including “Act Naturally” and “Streets of Bakersfield.”

Yoakam noted he had recently provided the video narration for the Country Music Hall of Fame exhibit The Bakersfield Sound: Buck Owens, Merle Haggard, and California Country. This transitioned into Yoakam previewing a new track slated for his next album, a hard-charging cover of Bakersfield pioneer, Joe Maphis’ “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (and Loud, Loud Music)” which was inspired by the first time Maphis saw Buck Owens perform in 1958.

The night wound down with Yoakam doing an extended shimmy off stage to the rowdy track, "Fast As You.” The encore providing one last ghost dance: Yoakam covering Dave Alvins’ ode to Hank Williams’ final days “Long White Cadillac."

Yoakam performs "Fast As You" at the Palladium.

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