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National Beat: Clint Black Comes to Reno

Clint Black Concert at The Grand Sierra Resort


By Nick McCabe – Front Row Photo

Clint Black and his band.
all photos by Nick McCabe

Clint Black played to a sold out house at The Grand Sierra Resort in Reno this Valentine’s Day. Seeing as how I usually cover Rock and Roll or Blues musicians, this was the most cowboy hats I’ve ever seen in one room at one time, unless they were on a rack with price tags on them. This country crowd was a more subdued crowd than I’m used to seeing too. Before the show started I was back stage when a line of folks heading to a meet and greet walked by, so I fell in line. I watched Mr. Black cordially greet each person one at a time as they stepped up for a photo. The woman that had her picture taken with him just before I did walked away with tears running down her cheeks. It’s fascinating to see how strongly an artist can impact a true fan. When I stepped up and spoke with him for just a few seconds I sensed that he is a genuinely friendly and pleasant man.

Clint came out promptly at 9:00 and played a few songs with just his guitar and harmonica all by himself starting with “Night and Day” from his 1989 album, Killing Time. After saying that all the songs he would be playing were going to be his originals he said, ‘except this one’, then he played Willie Nelsons “I Couldn’t Believe It Was True” off of his album, Red Headed Stranger. At this point the rest of his five piece band came out and they started off with “Code Of The West” from his 2005 album Drinkin’ Songs And Other Logic. There is no doubt that Clint Black has mastered his genre. When he and Hayden Nicholas started working together in 1987 everything jelled. Their years of experience and skills shined all evening long and the crowd was in tune with them. Prior to the encore they ended the set with “Tuckered Out”, an up-tempo tune with a myriad of cleverly written references to other musicians (The babblin' Brooks are Dunn…I can't Lovett if…I'm Haggard, worn and Waylon…). They finished up with a two song encore of “Put Yourself In My Shoes” from his 1990 album of the same name, and “A Better Man” from his 1989 debut album Killin’ Time, calling it a night at 10:30.

Compared to what I’m used to this was a very low key show. Just when I thought it was going to ‘kick in’ it didn’t. It went for a long time very slow. His songs are stories. Between me not being familiar with his music, and my poor ears being half shot I had a difficult time following the stories. I’m sure this hurt my experience a little. It did finally get more up tempo toward the end of the show, which is how it should go. You want to send the crowd out tapping their feet. He’s very comfortable with chatting it up between songs and telling funny stories that go along with the songs. He was quite entertaining at it. At one point a young lady was at the front edge of the stage hollering at him that she wanted him to autograph her boot. He said that if he did that then everybody would want him to sign their boots and the last thing you wanted was a thousand people taking their boots off, then he obliged her and signed it anyway. Very nice. His fans loved him and he put on a wonderful show.

…and the beat goes on.

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