Dwight Yoakam fans are crazy. If you don't believe me, get in the way of some five-foot-five, 120-pound women who have their hearts set on being dead front- and center-stage for the tight-jeans-sporting, hip-shaking, leg-dancing hootchie-cootchie hottie that is Dwight Yoakam. These women will take you down with a well-placed elbow to the gut, a boot to the crotch and an upper cut that would make Mike Tyson proud.
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These are the same women who use screen names like "momluvsdwight" and "dwightsnextgal" and spend their nights talking about how to get Dwight-themed merchandise (beach towels, blow-up dolls), chatting online at Dwight's website and wishing others a "Dewightful" day. In other words, these women are obsessed. And you do not want to get in front of them.
Despite a lack of radio airplay and the kind of big-label promotional muscle that force-feeds the Big Hat country charts, Yoakam continues to be one of the most popular country stars touring. With 18 studio albums to draw from, his shows are all hits, no filler. Trust me, you won't be able to go to the bathroom or duck out to get a beer for fear of missing at least one of your favorites. Yoakam does an excellent job of sandwiching new songs with such "musts" as "Guitars, Cadillacs," "Little Sister," "Streets of Bakersfield" and "I Sang Dixie."
After 21 years, Dwight Yoakam is still going strong: he's got one of his strongest albums yet (let's face it: Blame the Vain is full of potential greatest hits), a rocking new band, tight-assed dance moves, the kind of chops reserved for legends like Willie and George, and the kind of fans that will rip you to shreds. I'll be the one down front.
Dwight Yoakam at the Grove of Anaheim, 2200 E. Katella Ave., Anaheim, (714) 712-2700; www.thegroveofanaheim.com. Thurs., Sept. 7, 8 p.m. $40-$55. All ages.