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Yoakam, Jackson delight audience on beautiful eveningTell North Platte what you think
Photo by George Lauby
Dwight Yoakam
Photo by George Lauby
Photo by George Lauby
Larry and Connie Brott
Photo by George Lauby
Haylee Evans, at left, and Jessi Earhart
Photo by George Lauby
Heartfelt Alan Jackson
Photo by George Lauby
Tap on images to enlarge
Photo by George Lauby
Photo by George Lauby

Dwight Yoakam barreled through his rockin’ country music set Friday at the Nebraskaland Days Summer Jam concert, reminding the packed audience of the energy and heart of rockabilly and country music.

Yoakam started right on time and hardly took a breather for 60 minutes, performing hit after hit, with a few Merle Haggard, Buck Owens and Elvis songs too.

Yoakam was straight ahead for most of the show, but as the hour went along, he swung his knees from time to time, dancing in a show of fun and swagger -- trademark Dwight Yoakam moves.

Larry and Connie Brott were there from Hayes Center. Larry said he likes all of Alan Jackson’s music, singing his songs while he checks cattle. The tickets were a Father’s Day gift, he said.

Yoakam sang such songs as (I’m a) Honky Tonk Man, Thousand Miles from Nowhere, Little Ways (to hurt me), Fast as You and These Arms, and closed with his monster hit Guitars and Cadillacs.

Haylee Evans, 17, and her friend Jessi Earhart, 15, made the trip to the concert from Curtis. Haylee didn’t know much about Yoakam, but is a big fan of Jackson. Earhart said she loves the country music of the George Strait-era, including Yoakam.


Alan Jackson took his time onstage and talked often. The sincerely spoken Georgian recalled his last time at Nebraskaland Days, in 1992.

A photo came up on a big screen behind the stage of Jackson. He was wearing a Farmall tractor tee-shirt, with David Fudge, now the executive director of the Nebraskaland Days celebration. They were clearly younger then, but Jackson said he thought he still had that shirt in a closet someplace.

Bethany VonSpreckelsen of Hayes Center considers the music of Yoakam and Jackson to be authentic country, the real stuff. She and friends Kathleen Cullinan of North Platte and Amanda Huen of O'Neill were happy to be there.

"It's what country music should be," Huen said.

Jackson said he enjoyed the flight into North Platte, with farms and ranches spread out below.

“It’s beautiful country,” he said. “It’s God’s country.”

The cool evening and good music was unblemished for the near-sellout crowd.

Jackson sang She’s Gone Country, slipping in the phrase “here in Nebraska” and the crowd roared. Videos of his songs played in the background as he sang such hits as “I Don’t’ Even Know Your Name,” with a video starring Jeff Foxworthy.

Jackson’s nine-piece band got time in the spotlight too, with long instrumental solos. Jackson enjoyed strolling from one side of the stage to the other, waving, smiling and signing an autograph now and then.

The audience gave a huge response when the video screen lit up with shots of North Platte – Bailey Yard, Fort Cody, Buffalo Bill Historical Park, the Co-Op grain elevator and the Wild West Arena – followed by Memorial Stadium in Lincoln and the Husker logo.

Midway through the show, Jackson touched nearly all of the people who were there with “Where Were You When the World Stopped Turning,” a soul-searching song about the 911 attacks, earning a long standing ovation from the audience.

His songs “Remember When” and “Drive” clearly touched a lot of hearts too.

Jackson carried on in fine style with such songs as “(It’s alright to be) Little Bitty” and closed with the uptempo “Crazy Bout a Mercury,” then came back for an encore. 

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The North Platte Bulletin - Published 6/23/2017
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