If you have ever wanted to go to a country music singer’s house and listen to them and their friends’ jam, have I got the show for you. Chicks with Hits, an intimate concert featuring Pam Tillis, Suzy Bogguss, and Terri Clark, made a stop at The Joint at Hard Rock Casino Tulsa recently and blew me away. As a huge 90’s country music fan, I was excited to see this show, but I had no idea how absolutely incredible it would be.
The stage was set to look like a living room with a large rug on the floor, three comfy chairs, end tables with flowers, and lots of different instruments. All three ladies came on stage together and it was as if they invited you over to their house for a girls’ night to chat, laugh and sing some amazing songs. The banter back and forth in between songs was unscripted and so funny. Pam Tillis noted early on that they were only two weeks into the tour and she’d already figured out that you never know what Terri Clark was going to say; she was right. Clark kept us laughing all night with her one-liners.
Throughout the night each singer took turns belting out their hits while the other two backed them up on acoustic instruments and vocals. Let me tell you, not only do these ladies still have the pipes to sing, but they are pretty great at playing guitar, different percussion instruments and even bass guitar. Tillis told us she took up learning bass, especially for this tour. She had a tiny bass that looked like a mandolin and played it on several songs. The individual singing was great but the harmonies were out of this world. When the three of them would sing together it was angelic.
The best part of the show was that if you knew 90’s country, you knew every song. Terri Clark sang her number one song “Girls Lie Too,” along with “I Just Want to Be Mad” and “Better Things to Do.” She told the story of her first husband and how he inspired the song “If I Were You,” used a looping machine for some “slow jams” on her song “Now That I Found You” and later in the show, broke into a cover of “Rose Colored Glasses,” complete with a pretty impressive John Conlee impression. Clark was extremely happy and honored to be on stage with both Tillis and Bogguss and mentioned that when she started out in Nashville, she would sing their songs in the various bars, so she’d been “practicing for this gig for a bit.”
Pam Tillis was absolutely adorable. She sang her hits “Shake the Sugar Tree,” “Let That Pony Run,” “Mi Vida Loca (My Crazy Life)” and “Spilled Perfume.” The loudest crowd participation of the evening came with her song “Maybe it was Memphis.” Everyone in the audience sang along, and she received a standing ovation at the end. It was clearly the crowd favorite of the night.
Suzy Bogguss is still as amazing today as she was 20 years ago. When she would hit those long high notes in her songs, it was incredible. She was a crowd-pleaser with her songs “Outbound Plane,” “Aces,” “Someday Soon” and her chart-topping cover of John Hiatt’s “Drive South.” Before her song “Letting Go,” she mentioned she used to sing the song from the perspective of the daughter, but now with a grown daughter of her own, she sings it from the mom’s point of view. I know I wasn’t the only one with tears in my eyes by the end of that song. It was absolutely beautiful.
The encore was a medley of several more of each of their songs and they finished with a rousing rendition of Clark’s famous cover of the Warren Zevon tune “Poor Poor Pitiful Me,” complete with Pam Tillis entertaining us on cowbell.
The three ladies together were such a delight to see. I laughed, cried, sang and danced. This show was so different than a traditional concert and I loved every minute. To get a personal account of the stories behind the songs that you know and love is a great way to feel more connected to the artists. Chicks with Hits is the ultimate girls’ night jam session and I highly recommend you go see it.