Dwight Yoakam, Outshyne
Carolina Theatre, Durham
Wednesday, Dec. 11

Dwight Yoakam made the slow walk onstage last night at the Carolina Theatre while wearing his trademark crisp Stetson hat and bootcut jeans. Art Deco-style teardrop lighting hung overhead. The sold-out crowd greeted him with a standing ovation even before he and a four-piece band could kick into the country classic “Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music).”

From that moment on, he and his band moved quickly through a 23-song set in almost exactly 90 minutes, pausing infrequently. Despite brief bouts of feedback, they were in fine form for the whirlwind show, which offered stunning takes of “It Won’t Hurt” and “I Sang Dixie.” The crowd got to sing along with “Honky Tonk Man” and “Little Ways,” too.

The only stage banter of the night came when Yoakam modified the lyrics of “Streets of Bakersfield” by naming Chapel Hill as the place he “spent a night in the can.” The audience responded with instant boos, so Yoakam stopped mid-song to scold them: “You are a devlish bunch, aren’t you?” He inserted Durham into the verse and moved ahead.

The Carolina Theatre’s rather intimate confines were a strange fit for the singer. His stage performance and decibel level seemed geared toward the mid-sized arenas he has been playing as the opening act for pop-country act Eric Church. Later in the evening, Yoakam thanked the crowd for coming to see him, even after his recent appearance at the Greensboro Coliseum. The applause was minimal, as most people seemed to have picked one show over the other.

Unannounced opening act Outshyne earned a similar reaction. The well-intentioned pop-country group from Laurens, South Carolina fell flat with their version of “bro-country” or “hick-hop.” The songs wound through a list of clichéd subjects already familiar through mainstream country. The pairing seemed bizarre, especially since locals like John Howie Jr. & The Rosewood Bluff or The Backsliders would have better fit Yoakam’s loyalty to country roots.

Regardless, Yoakam and company encored with the Elvis Presley comeback single, “Suspicious Minds.” The crowd stood cheering, as Yoakam added an extra bit of crooning in salute to the late hero.

Set list:
Dim Lights, Thick Smoke (And Loud, Loud Music)
Please, Please Baby
Little Sister
Streets of Bakersfield
It Won’t Hurt
This Drinkin’ Will Kill Me
Second Hand Heart
Ain’t That Lonely Yet
Ring of Fire
Nothing’s Changed Here
I Sang Dixie
I’ll Be Gone
Always Late With Your Kisses
If There Was A Way
Things Change
This Time
Honky Tonk Man
A Thousand Miles From Nowhere
It Only Hurts When I Cry
Little Ways
Guitars, Cadillacs
Fast As You
Suspicious Minds