Dwight Yoakam shines at Lights Over Waco concert

Dwight Yokam took the stage Sunday night at the Lights Over Waco concert in celebration of Monday's solar eclipse. Photo courtesy of Kalena Reynolds

By Kalena Reynolds | Staff Writer

Legendary country artist Dwight Yoakam brought his dancing shoes and bedazzled denim jacket to the free Lights Over Waco festival put on by the Waco Parks and Recreation Department Sunday evening.

Yoakam shared stories of his past while sifting through his discography, from hits like “A Thousand Miles From Nowhere” to deeper cuts like “You’re the One.” With incredible vocals and a stellar band to back him up, the show was nothing short of southern perfection.

He opened in a blue denim jacket with a rhinestone stripe at the bottom and a cover of “Keep on the Sunny Side,” originally by The Carter Family. Iconic yellow Epiphone Casino guitar in hand, the crowd was packed. Immediately, it was apparent how he has been able to sustain a career since the ’80s.

While Yoakam has topped the charts for multiple decades, the audience varied in age. The crowd lingered with a heavy amount of enthusiasm and interest. While most concerts today consist of a sea of phones, Yoakam’s was different — people were highly engaged.

Three songs in, Yoakam threw in another cover, this time of Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister,” which included a melodic guitar solo that harmonized with the rest of the band. For the 67-year-old musician, it was evident that regardless of his age, the music was timeless.

Fast forward a few songs, and his stagehand brought him an acoustic with a diamond-studded strap. He played “Streets of Bakersfield” with an iconic background accordion.

Eventually, Yoakam broke into dialogue between songs and shouted out Buck Owens and Merle Haggard. This was followed by more songs and a beautiful Steele guitar solo.

Concert attendee Connie Raley said she has been a fan of Yoakam for over 30 years and felt his concert was top-notch.

“It was wonderful, truly once in a lifetime,” Raley said.

As he rolled into one song and then another, he eventually landed on “This Time,” and the crowd’s enthusiasm picked up. With beautiful backup vocals from his band, the song was nothing short of a harmonic masterpiece that amassed enthusiasm as the song continued.

The crowd continued to roar as Yoakam announced a waltz. The guitar player switched for a mandolin, and the band broke into “You’re The One.”

Concert attendee Robert Harlan said he has been a longtime fan and has seen Yoakam multiple times alongside his wife.

“We’ve been watching him for years. We’ve seen him twice in the last two years,” Harlan said. “He’s been busy, and we’ve been fans since he started.”

The crowd picked up and cheered even louder as he began “Turn It On, Turn It Up and Turn Me Loose.”

As the song came to an end, Yoakam cracked a joke that “rehearsal was over and it was time to start the real thing.” While the first half might have been a rehearsal, the last half was nothing but hits, bringing the crowd’s energy to an all-time high.

As Yoakam played his last song, the band cheered for an encore, and it reloaded on stage and played multiple songs, including Elvis’ “Suspicious Minds.”