Concert Reviews

Jo Dee Messina Brings Down the House at Thirsty Cowboy

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It’s been a while since I’ve seen Jo Dee Messina live in concert. I thought I knew what to expect when this diminutive country music powerhouse took the stage this past Saturday night at Thirsty Cowboy. But I was wrong. Very wrong!

Something had changed over the years. Yes, her voice is as strong and attention grabbing as it’s ever been. Her stage presence is still high energy and infectious. But this time her performance was marked with a depth that sets it apart from her earlier work. Call it maturity or maybe seasoning brought on by the inevitable ups and downs in life we all experience. Good times, not so good times, motherhood and the stress of a cancer diagnosis all contribute to a person gaining perspective. It was her perspective that Messina joyfully shared with a house full of adoring fans.

In any case, Messina’s performance this night was a masterful mixture of vulnerability, authenticity and determined, if not downright defiant, optimism. She bared her soul up on that stage and in doing so, she offered up one of the most heartfelt and compelling performances I’ve ever witnessed…and it was magic!

As she worked her way through her 17-song set, Messina had the crowd eating out of her hands. She painted a clear picture of what life has dealt her over the years, and what she’s learned along the way. In addition to her chart topping hits, which earned her the thunderous approval of the sold out crowd, she also worked in newer material, most notably her latest single “Reckless Love.” Faith in God is something that has become a focal point in Messina’s life, along with her faith and joy, and that led to the release of her new music.

Together with her five piece band, who are easily as good as any band in the business, Messina put on a show that surpassed just being fun and entertaining. It was also uplifting, as she was able to connect with her fans on a deeply personal level. It’s that feeling of optimism and hope she conveyed that folks will carry with them into their everyday lives.

Yes, Jo Dee Messina has changed. She’s an artist now as much as she is a singer or a songwriter. And like a fine wine, she keeps on getting better with time. It was great to re-connect with this country music dynamo. And you can be sure that there will be a next time. I guarantee it. Jo Dee Messina is just THAT good!

Set List
“Take It”
“Breakin’ It Down”
“Heads Carolina, Tails California”
“My Give A Damn’s Busted”
“I’m Done”
“That’s The Way”
“I’m Alright”
“Bring On The Rain”
“Stand Beside Me”
“Lesson In Leavin’”
“Masquerade”
“Where Were You”
“Will You Love Me”
“Reckless Love”
“Bye Bye”
Encore: “Don’t Stop Believin’”

Jo Dee Messina at Thirsty Cowboy (12.1.18) – Photos by Gerard Hilinski

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