After two decades of hits and more than 30 million records sold, country duo Brooks & Dunn have decided to go out on top. Their Last Rodeo Tour, which dropped in on the Tacoma Dome last night, has been billed as their last. But is it, really?
“Thanks for coming to hang with us one last time,” Kix Brooks said before singing a poignant, acoustic version of tour namesake, “Last Rodeo.”
But just moments later, when he broached the subject of whether he and partner Ronnie Dunn would ever be back, he seemed to leave the the door slightly ajar. Jokingly alluding to the Eagles’ premature split, he said, “We never say never. This ain’t a hell freezin’ over tour.” ( (The not-so-broken-up Eagles will be at KeyArena on May 13, for the record.)
So fans are left to ponder. Is this really it or more like a Garth Brooks/Jay-Z style “retirement,” to be revoked at some future date once B & D get bored with domestic life and playing golf.
Whatever the case, the duo said a fitting good-bye to local fans with two festive, hit-filled hours, with Jason Aldean and Tyler Dickenson adding support. One of my favorite Brooks & Dunn tunes is always their gospel number “Believe,” a poignant number that seemed to resonate more than usual with fans, who waved their hands and swayed side to side as Dunn soulfully recalled bonding with “old man Wrigley” from next door.
But the pensive moments were few and far between during a set better characterized by upbeat numbers like “There Ain’t Nothin‘ ‘Bout You,” “Red Dirt Road” and “Rock My World (Little Country Girl.)” Several stock performance elements made an appearance. Fans made the most noise for a group of soldiers that marched out to salute them during “Only in America,” a song that peaked with red, white and blue streamers raining down on the crowd. Brooks fired up the t-shirt gun during the aforementioned “Rock My World” and later grabbed a little girl from the audience and twirled her around a bit during the finale – what else? – breakthrough hit “Boot Scootin’ Boogie.”
Not that the Brooks & Dunn set never felt formulaic. The duo and its backing band seemed loose, energized and in the moment throughout. And fans were right there with them, as they belted out the lines to their favorite B & D songs.
So will they be back? They seem to be calling it quits for all the right reasons. And my guess is that you’re more likely to see them in concert separately before you see them share a the stage again. But like Brooks said, “never say never.”