It was clear from the audience at the amphitheater on Thursday night that Dwight Yoakam is not your typical Red Butte Concert Series show.
There wasn’t a spot to be found on the grass between the hat-and-boots crowd there to hear Yoakam’s signature honky tonk sound.
But the VIP area was half-full at the start of the show and emptied even further as the sun dropped, the wind blew and the twang kicked in.
The Hollering Pines played a subdued, but perfectly suitable soft country set for 40 minutes to warm things up before the stage switch kept fans waiting for Yoakam and his band. When they finally emerged 45 minutes later, they made up for the delay by playing more than two hours worth of covers, old hits and new singles off the ‘3 Pears’ album released this spring.
Yoakam, dressed in light blue denim, white boots and his signature tan cowboy hat, was subdued compared to his sparkly sidekicks - the only hint of sequins in a stripe across his jacket and his guitar strap. Lead guitar/mandolin player Eugene Edwards resembled an Elvis impersonator in his pompadour and shiny silver coat. Yoakam’s dance moves channeled a little of The King as well.
Stopping only a few times between sets to comment on the windy, dry weather and to thank the Utah crowd for supporting him early in his career, he kept the dancing crowd engaged by mixing in new stuff with signature hits like “A Thousand Miles from Nowhere,” “Guitars and Cadillacs” and “Little Sister.” Yoakam and his crew also played respectful, energetic covers of Buck Owens — fittingly, in the middle of “Turn it On, Turn it Up” when the lyrics mention “an old Buck Owens song” —as well as Roy Orbison and Johnny Cash tunes.