No. 9 Merle Haggard - Countdown of the Best Concerts of 2010
Over the last ten weekdays of 2010 Up On The Sun will be counting down the best live shows of 2010.
Today we look at the #9 show of the year, outlaw country legend Merle Haggard at Mesa Arts Center.
Show: Merle Haggard at Mesa Arts Center
Date: Sunday, May 9, 2010
Background: Merle had to reschedule this show after a health scare -- he had lung cancer that's in remission -- but it was worth the wait. Somehow, The Hag managed to cram plenty of his old hits and a few gems from his excellent new record, I Am What I Am, into only an hour or so.
Why is stood out: There were a lot of great country shows this year -- George Strait's night at US Airways springs immediately to mind -- but this one separates from the pack because it really felt like a special, fleeting moment. Hopefully, The Hag spins around the country a bunch of times in the coming years but given that he's lived a rough 73 years and many of his contemporaries have passed on, I'm very glad I got the chance to see him perform.
Someone else said: "The documentary, Merle Haggard: Learning to Live with Myself, portrays a man trying to come to terms with a life that took him from a train-hopping delinquent to an ex-con to a country music superstar, thanks to hits like "Mama Tried" and "Okie from Muskogee." Haggard has always been a deeply personal songwriter, re-working the major events of his life -- his father's early death, his hardscrabble childhood, the years he spent in San Quentin -- again and again in his songs. And in the PBS film he's surprisingly emotional -- more tortured poet than rabble-rousing tough guy." -The Wall Street Journal on the Haggard documentary that came out around the same time as the show.
Read the full review here.