Dolly Parton – Wells Fargo Theater, CO

This woman is truly a living legend.

She’s written thousands of songs, starred in movies, and is recognizable all over the world. People just know who Dolly Parton is, no explanation needed.

Her show is one part theater, one part gospel revival and one part country hoedown with fireside chats thrown in the mix at random intervals.

She played to a enthusiastic audience Sunday night at the Wells Fargo Theater in the Convention Center.

The band onstage, Dolly came out dressed in what else, rhinestones. She said, “How’s everybody in Denver tonight? We’re gonna have some fun tonight.”

Two Doors Down

“I knew you’d be fun to party with! That’s a nice welcome. You’re a friendly bunch and good looking too… I just got one question…”

Why’d You Come In Here Looking Like That?

“Welcome to our show, I should say your show.” Someone shouted something to which Dolly said, “Someone’s feeling good.” She commented on how hot it had been recently and that she appreciated that we were all there. She gave her “it costs a lot to look this cheap” comment and that since times are hard she’s try to “give every nickel worth.”

She saw a little girl in the front and said that she was one of the “cutest girls I’ve ever seen” and that the little girl was wearing rhinestones as well, “we like to shine.” Apparently the girl had a sign because Dolly squinted and said, “Thanks for the books?” and then said that she got the books from the Imagination Library. She told the girl she looked “awfully smart” and asked if she remembered a song called “Jolene.”


“I’m glad you remember Jolene. I’ve been trying to forget her for 40 years.” She said that Jolene was some “red-headed gal trying to steal my husband” and that she obviously didn’t get away with it but that sometimes when he’s over there lying in his chair she wonders if he’s still got her number. She said she’d “bet there’s some country guys here tonight.”

Thank God I’m A Country Girl
during which a guy dressed in overalls came out and danced with Dolly

She said, “He’s a cutie, ain’t he girls?” and then, “He’s a cutie ain’t he boys? He’ll be running off and on.” She added that she “figured he’d make himself useful as well as ornamental” and that he had been a dancer at Dollywood and that we should go there when we “wanna get out of this heat… it’s about 20 degrees hotter and more humid!”

She said something about being short and people being surprised that she was so little in person. “I might have been taller if I hadn’t bunched up on top.”

Little But Loud

She told a story about her grandfather was a preacher and that holy rollers don’t wear a lot of make up and they all thought she was going to “hell in a hand basket” because she used to pick poke berries and use them as lipstick and say it was her natural color and use matches for eyeliner and flour for face powder. She laughed that if it was a particularly hot day it would fall down and create a strand of pearls but on some hot days she’d feel like she was going to “break out in biscuits.”

“This one sums me up.”

Backwoods Barbie

She said, “I felt like I was singing on the Grand Ole Opry with all them steel guitars.” She added, “You might be a Backwoods Barbie if your pink corvette is up on blocks in the front yard and your dream house is on wheels.”

She had a guitar brought out and she said, “It took me two weeks to get all these on there. I never leave any rhinestone unturned.” She continued talking about how her husband doesn’t really care for country but he likes rock and that she was listening to his music and heard the Fine Young Cannibals and she said, “‘I think I could take that song…’ and he said, ‘what and screw it up?'”

At this point some of her hair fell out and she said “Sorry, I’m always picking these wild hairs. Don’t worry, it didn’t hurt me… some little old woman in Korea is screaming. I told you, nothing about me is real except my heart.”

She continued her story about her husband saying “I ain’t listened to him in 42 years. I ain’t about to star now.”

Drive Me Crazy

She gave her guitar pick to the little girl and said, “When your thumb grows up you can wear that.” She said that she isn’t very political but she’s very patriotic and that someone told her she ought to run for president and she said, “Yeah, right. Don’t you think we’ve had enough boobs in the White House?” She added something about having a woman in the White House and every 28 days…

She also joked about her thoughts on political issues like foreign affairs, “I’ve had a few, American men are better,” and global warming, “If my globes get too warm I take my sweater off.”

She also talked about how she felt bad for the little girls in star business right now, like Britney and Lindsey Lohan because “if you’d been handed $100,000 dollars when you were 16, what would you done?” She said she’d have “done something foolish like invest in a theme park.” She said that when she was first starting out they said nasty things about her in the tabloids and that usually people forget about it and that her mama said that she’d “hate to think they cut down trees for this crap.”

She got out her dulcimer, which was also sparkled and said, “I still had some rhinestones left.”

Shattered Image

“I wrote that so many years ago,” she said. “Sounds like a crazy cajun.”

Dolly Parton

She talked about her childhood in the Great Smokey Mountains and that there were 12 children, six boys and six girls but nobody ever thought “not another baby” and that people have told her that her family “must be Catholic” but she says “no, we’re just horny hillbillies.”

She went on to talk about her daddy how he was really smart but he couldn’t read or write and that’s what inspired her to create the Imagination Library.

She said that her daddy always put a roof over their heads, even if it did leak and the always had food on the table even if it wasn’t what they wanted or as much of it as they wanted and that “you don’t know you’re poor until some smart aleck tells you so.”

She said that her mama could tell you anything and make it sound good, cook anything and make it taste good and sew anything and make it look good.

Coat of Many Colors

She told a story about how she took her mama shopping for a mink coat when she got the first royalty check from that song, “back when you could still wear mink coats,” and that her mama said “I don’t want something that’s already been worn,” so she took the money and spent it elsewhere. She also said that she’s written a lot of songs but that was her favorite.

She kept talking about her mama and how she used to sing songs from the old country, that it was in her DNA to sing those songs and that she “feels it in her heart and her gut.”

Only Dreaming

She talked about going to church when she was little and that she loved it because they got to “make a joyful noise” and that some of the revivals went for two or three weeks but they were a lot of fun.

Gospel Medley
Brother Love
I’ll Fly Away
When The Saints
Old Time Religion
If I Be Lifted Up
Granddaddy was an Old Time Preacher
Brother Love

Set Break

Baby I’m Burning

The overall guy came back out and she said, “He’s back and better than ever!”

“Welcome back, nice break? I missed you.”

She said the next song was about feeling bad because “we got a right to, unless it becomes a career.”

Better Get To Livin’

She said they’d been enjoying songs from the new CD but a lot of people were calling into the radio stations for this one. She said she knew none of the men in here ever acted like it says in the song.


She was given a list of questions from the radio station listeners here. The first question was about the most important decision of her career and she said there had been a few but she had been blessed that Dollywood and the movies and all that had worked out. She said that she had been writing songs since she was a “tiny little thing” and that her Uncle Bill Owen had helped her early on. She said she wanted to dedicate a song to the little girl if she wasn’t asleep yet, but it was ok if she was asleep because that’s where Dolly’d like to be. She said that recently she had made the decision to be Hannah Montana’s “Aunt Dolly” and that if we didn’t already know Hannah Montana was Miley Cyrus, Billy Ray Cyrus’ little girl and that he’d done a really good job raising her and keeping her grounded and that if she could remember right she was grounded now for about two weeks.

The next question was about retirement to which Dolly said that as long as she was able to she’d keep going. She said she wanted to be one of those people that is singing up on stage and just keels over, “like one of them fainting goats, so you could say, ‘I was with her… she just went out like a light.'”

There was a question about meeting Carl Deen and that it was on her first day in Nashville at the Wishy-Washy laundromat and that on their first date he read the menu and ordered for her and then they pulled up around to the next window and it’d been “McLovin’ ever since.”

Someone asked about the rumor that she had spent the weekend with a rich Arab oil sheik for a million dollars and she said, “You think I’d admit it if I had? Excuse me while I shake the sand out of my britches.” She said if she had that she’d have asked for lower gas prices.

The inevitable plastic surgery question was next to which she jokingly said, “we’ll skip that question…” but that seriously in 100 years she wanted people to say, “dang, she looks good.”

She said that the next song was originally a bluegrass song but Norah Jones had recorded it and she liked the way she did it and so she was going to do it that way as a little change of pace. Now I’m no Norah Jones, but it is my song so I can mess it up if I want to.”

Grass is Blue

She said that while they had the piano out they’d whip up a little more.

Great Balls of Fire

She said that her first song was called Puppy Love and asked the little girl if she had a puppy and then said, “This is for you and your puppy.”

Puppy Love

She talked about singing with her brothers growing up and that they had a great blend and people used to send for them to play at different things so they would do a song like that, with the guys in the band filling in for her brothers.

Do I Ever Cross Your Mind
during which the girls in the band joined as well

She talked about how they had just come back from Europe and that they always try to take time to sightsee but customs were a pain to get through. She said that in Scotland the customs officer was wearing a skirt called a kilt, but “where I’m from, if a boy wears a skirt it could get him killed” and he had felt her up and after he was finished she asked if he thought she was smuggling dope and he said, “No, illegal aliens.”

She said the next song was a sad one but it won’t kill us.

Little Sparrow

She said, “Oh, let’s get out of the sorrows, hit it boys.”

Here You Come Again

Dolly Parton

Islands in the Stream

“While you’re up…”

Nine to Five

“Boy, you know every word to that one. Let’s do some more. You singing loud?” Someone in the audience shouted something and she said, “You’re feeling no pain, are you?”

“Let’s do it again sometime.”

I Will Always Love You

After a short encore break she came back out and said, “Alright, we’ll do one more.”

Jesus and Gravity

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Photos by Nichole Wagner

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