Dwight Yoakam Comes Roaring Back in Big Sky Country
Bonafide living country music legend Dwight Yoakam brought a little bit of Bakersfield to Big Sky Country in Montana Friday evening (7-16) as he took the stage as one of the headliners of this weekend’s Under The Big Sky Fest. With ample pent up energy for the prolonged quarantine, and playing one of his first massive shows back compared to limited capacity theaters and casinos, Yoakam and his band were in rare form, and left faces melted, and hearts full.
Even at 64-years-old now, Dwight is still squeezing into tight jeans, and moving around on stage like he’s 17, swinging hips, thrusting his haunches behind his guitar, and spinning around on his boot heels. Dwight Yoakam doesn’t play music, he makes sweet love to it, and his voice is still caramel, with all of the whoops and yodels still at his beck and call like it’s 1986.
As much Dwight Yoakam comes across as ageless aside from the grey flowing out from beneath his signature cowboy hat pulled down so low you just get occasional peaks at his eyes, as time has gone on Dwight has also embraced his role as a country elder and a conduit for country music from previous eras even more than he did in his early career with Buck Owens and others.
The beginning of his set started off with numerous classics and covers, including “Keep on the Sunny Side,” and an extended run through the catalog of Merle Haggard including “Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down” and “Swinging Doors.” Dwight also told a story of hanging out on Willie Nelson’s bus (yes, one of those stories), and peering through the smoke and haze to find out that Willie’s favorite song from Merle Haggard was actually “Okie From Muskogee,” which Dwight played along with Ray Wylie Hubbard’s semi answer song, “Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother,” giving the Wylie Llama a nice shout out along with it.
And of course Buck Owens got his due with Dwight performing “Streets of Bakersfield,” and launching into the Buck Owens theme song “Buckaroo” in between the passages of Dwight’s own “Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn It Loose.”
It’s easy to get swept up in the moments when watching a country music legend do their thing on stage. But Dwight wasn’t just going through the motions, he was grinning from ear to ear, and it felt like a performance for the record. “Fourteen days turned into fourteen months…” he said, happy as everyone else was to finally be among like-minded souls enjoying the gift of music together.
“Everybody stay safe,” Dwight said as he walked off the stage. “But let’s get back to living.”
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Stay tuned for a complete recap of Under The Big Sky Fest, and you can follow Saving Country Music on Instagram for regular live updates.
A (mostly) complete setlist:
1. Keep on the Sunny Side
2. Little Sister
3. Streets of Bakersfield
4. Tonight The Bottle Let Me Down
5. Swinging Doors
6. Up Against The Wall Redneck Mother
7. Okie From Muskogee
8. I Got You (dedicated to his new wife)
9. I’ll Be Gone
10. Blame The Vain
11. You’re The One
12. Turn It On, Turn It Up, Turn It Loose
14. Honky Tonk Man
15. Thousand Miles from Nowhere
16. Little Ways
17. Guitars, Cadillacs
18. Fast As You
19. Suspicious Minds (Encore)
July 17, 2021 @ 9:57 am
Just to warn everyone, when I’m out on the Under The Big Sky grounds, reception is extremely spotty to non-existent. So if you leave a comments that needs to be approved or are sending me messages, be patient. I’ll get to it, but it may take a minute.
July 17, 2021 @ 10:14 am
“Even at 64-years-old now, Dwight is still squeezing into tight jeans, and moving around on stage like he’s 17, swinging hips, thrusting his haunches behind his guitar, and spinning around on his boot heels. Dwight Yoakam doesn’t play music, he makes sweet love to it, and his voice is still caramel, with all of the whoops and yodels still at his beck and call like it’s 1986.”
Could you not have been a little less descriptive?
July 18, 2021 @ 6:03 am
Why Di? It is Dwight! Perfect description.
July 18, 2021 @ 6:16 am
I wasnt there… but I’ve loved Dwight’s music for 25 years. I have seen him in concert 10 times and look forward to seeing him again soon…hes the coolest..!
July 18, 2021 @ 7:05 am
I agree, it IS a perfect description.
July 18, 2021 @ 2:17 pm
IM MORE THAN HAPPY , GLAD ,.ALMOST Breathless Today ! TO.HAVE FOUND YOU , I LOVE YOUR MUSIC ! ! !
AND I WOULD DIE TO GET TO ( SEE YOU PLAY ) ! !
July 18, 2021 @ 7:12 pm
It would have been so cool to see Dwight I have loved his music for a very, very long time and to see him in Montana, Wow! I lived there when I was a child. One of my top states.
July 17, 2021 @ 11:47 am
Thanks for this. I can close my eyes and imagine the show…
July 17, 2021 @ 11:57 am
I’ve been a DY fan from his first record until forever. I’ve seen him live several times from the beginning of his career to just before the pandemic. Never short on confidence and talent, he should come with a warning label “For Serious Country Music Consumption Only.” I think he may be a bit of an ass sometimes, but damn, HE REALLY IS THE SHIT.
July 17, 2021 @ 2:13 pm
A bit of an ass sometimes? Do tell.
I’ve had the pleasure of hanging with Dwight, and he’s often the smartest and kindest person in the room.
I’m guessing you ‘read’ something, or that your tv told you he’s an ass sometimes.
July 17, 2021 @ 12:28 pm
Saw him in the early aughts in Atlanta. Looking forward to seeing him in Macon Ga on July 29th. Damn it’s good to see live music again!
July 17, 2021 @ 1:57 pm
He still has it at 64.have loved him for years when he wad a Young skinny thing with that voice.he might be older but still had that one of a kind country voice.would love to see him
July 17, 2021 @ 3:00 pm
There is no doubt, Waylon is the epitome of “ccol”- but, by god! Dwight carries it to another level- but, seriously, his stage antics reminds me of Roy Head in his hey day- had girls in the audience drooling- LOL and tight pants?! Roy Head wore them before they were cool-
July 17, 2021 @ 3:54 pm
Roy Head performed at Dale Watsons Ameripolitan awards a few years back. Even in his old age the guy was a nut! Swinging the mic around over his head like a rock star until he got tangled in it. Total goofball. Backstage he was royalty with all the other pickers and performers getting photo ops!
Great shots of Dwight , Trig! Look forward to more of your pics and reporting. What a lineup you are seeing. I have two buddies there as well and i cant get a peep out of em. Must be the bad cell reception in rural Montana!
July 17, 2021 @ 4:27 pm
As I always have said, Dwight is the Elvis of country music. He just has it.
July 17, 2021 @ 5:19 pm
Interesting take. I agree with the other poster he is a bit of an ass. Three nights prior he “played” a semi private concert at Big Mountain Ranch for a charity. He refused to come out on stage until enough people moved over to the stage (there were only 150 people at this event, and he would have known that). He then forgot the name of the charity, until someone, embarrassingly told him. He also apparently got sick of playing the show, and quit playing after 40 minutes.
Glad others got to see him put on a show, because what we got was a washed up, arrogant, self righteous has been.
January 30, 2022 @ 10:58 pm
I totally disagree with Jackie & George O calling Dwight Yoakam an “ass “!
To George O, first of all if entertainers are performing for a charity they probably aren’t getting paid for their time. Also, I’ve read that most won’t even perform for a charity unless they’re performing for hundreds or even thousands of people, and it has to be a sold out show. If There were only 150 people at the charity event, that wouldn’t have even been worth Dwight’s time & travel, especially if people were so rude & inconsiderate that half of them didn’t even listen to him sing. I don’t blame him for leaving early. He must’ve felt so insulted!!
July 17, 2021 @ 5:41 pm
I saw Dwight at The Nugget in Sparks Nevada two years in a row. Dwight, please come back! Fantastic shows, one of the best performers to see live and yes I do scream when he dances.
July 17, 2021 @ 6:07 pm
Seen Dwight in Roanoke VA 1993 the best show I ever had the pleasure to see. Man he had about a 70 percent ratio of women to men if I had been blind the scent in the air would have told me what was going on . The greatest concert ever Rock or Country
July 17, 2021 @ 6:10 pm
THE WOMEN THAT THIS MAN HAS HAD !
“GOD” BLESS HIM !
July 17, 2021 @ 6:40 pm
That set list is epic. Love the Jerry Jeff. Dwight is one of the best male country singers in history, and let’s not forget Pete Anderson on guitar and producing. What a catalog.
How did he do Sunny Sid, Trig? Did they play it straight?
July 17, 2021 @ 11:08 pm
Pretty hard-charging, Bakersfield style. Certainly not like a folk song.
July 17, 2021 @ 7:05 pm
Saw him at the Old Saloon in Emigrant MT on Tuesday! Same show. He & his band were DEWIGHTFUL! Glad they are back on the road again….I see them Sept 3rd too…counting the days❣
July 17, 2021 @ 7:23 pm
Welcome to Montana trig
July 17, 2021 @ 7:26 pm
Dwight is the man. I remember listening to a couple CD’s of my father’s as a very young kid back when CD’s were new. Just recently I started listening to them for the first time in years and they are some of my go to records. I’m not even a country fan and I love Dwight Yoakam. Such an amazing voice. Wish I could be there…
July 18, 2021 @ 2:38 am
Yeah Roy Head was one of a kind
I had the priveledge of playing guitar
For him back in 91 what a blast
Dwight was my number one influence
Total badass. Rip Roy Head….. Love ya brother
July 18, 2021 @ 9:33 am
Dwight is one of those greats I hope to see live sometime.
Saw Asleep At The Wheel in Plymouth, NH Friday night and their show was so good, a lot more energy then when I saw them in Boston in 2019. Sold out show
and the crowd loved them. They are just great to see and Ray Benson continues to be quite the showman. Feel like they deserve so much more notoriety often flying under the radar. Katie Shore is such a talent on fiddle and with a great voice, and their piano player had such a classic sound on the old piano, felt like I was at a Texas honky tonk instead of an old NH theatre! Great stuff!
July 18, 2021 @ 12:52 pm
If you bump into Dwight backstage, tell him to please come to Sweden in the future (I’d love to see him live with my family). Or at least to put out another live album.
July 18, 2021 @ 2:32 pm
Sounds like the exact set of tricks he used back in 2016 when I saw him (buckaroo, Merle medley, etc). But it was great then and probably great now
July 18, 2021 @ 8:49 pm
Well it was 3 years back when Mr Yoakums concert played in San Diego and I sat outside wondering if I should BUY a ticket. Born a fool / Die a fool no more this Troubadour really is the REAL DEAL 🌆
July 19, 2021 @ 9:09 am
We have 5 tickets for his Stockton California Show at the BOB HOPE THEATER August 12th. OMG GOING TO BE AN AMAZING AWESOME SHOW!!!
July 19, 2021 @ 9:26 pm
Back in 2018 my wife and I went to see Dwight in Redding, CA. At the time the Carr Fire was still raging and the air was extremely thick with smoke, giving the city an eerie feeling. About halfway through his set, Dwight started talking about Merle Haggard and how it hurt to see his friend’s hometown being brought low by the fire. Haggard had lived around Redding for close to 40 years, his house being in Palo Cedro, which is about 10 minutes west of downtown Redding. Dwight then said that, as a tribute to Merle Haggard and his adopted hometown, he wanted to play “1 or 2 or 6” of his songs. He proceeded to play 6 or 7 Merle songs. It was awesome and the crowd ate it up. Every time I have seen him, I have come away impressed with what a class act Dwight Yoakam is.
July 20, 2021 @ 10:40 am
Saw him in April at Billy Bob’s. Soooooo good. His band was great too.
July 20, 2021 @ 2:06 pm
Is Mr. Yoakam doing Meet & Greets? f so, when and where?
July 20, 2021 @ 6:24 pm
I think the song is Blame the Vain (not Vein). Funny though.
July 21, 2021 @ 10:53 am
I have been a fan for many years since his debut but have never got the chance to him live. Hopefully, one day. He is a unique and talented individual.
August 7, 2021 @ 10:43 am
Please Dwight come back to Philadelphia!!!!