With a 35-year music career, a television series, and movie and Broadway performances under her belt, at 56, "The Queen of Country" is seemingly unstoppable.
As part of the third show in the Disabled Persons Action Organization's 2011 Summer Concert series, Reba McEntire graced the stage of the Alex T. Duffy Fairgrounds baseball diamond in Watertown on Saturday to perform to a crowd of nearly 6,000 fans.
This was the second time McEntire has visited the North Country – first in the early '90s – since she signed her music recording contract in 1975.
Opening for McEntire was Shagnasty, a local band also with a 30-year music career, started by brothers Jim Gravelle, lead guitarist and vocalist, and Jay Gravelle, drummer. Other band members include Tim Plante, who sings and plays the keyboard and fiddle; Jon LaCroix, vocalist and bass and guitar player; Amanda Johnson, vocalist; and Michael Richardson, who plays guitar and sings.
Shagnasty performed music from various genres, including country and rock.
During the concert, they played hit songs from country music artists such as Sugarland, Jason Aldean and Lady Antebellum.
Then, a little after 8 p.m., the crowd rose to their feet at the first sighting of the 5-foot-6-inch redhead, as she took the stage.
McEntire kicked off the concert with a few of her No. 1 hits, including "The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia" and "Is There Life Out There."
She thanked attendees for the support they have given her over the years and talked about her most recent album, "The Woman I Am," which was released last year.
"There are many women inside this body," she joked, with evidence of an Oklahoma twang in her voice.
She sang songs from the new album, including "If I Were a Boy," "When Love Gets a Hold of You" and "When You Have a Child."
Then, she performed a string of her No. 1 hits from the past 30 years.
Throughout the performance, McEntire charmed the audience with jokes in between songs. At one point she asked the audience, "You know what's so good about a good old Western?
“A good-looking cowboy," she answered.
Many audience members said they have seen McEntire perform a few times throughout the years, and they were excited that she chose to come back to the North Country. One attendee said the last time he saw McEntire in concert, she was pregnant with her youngest son, and except for her hairdo, she hasn't changed a bit.
McEntire wrapped up the concert the same way she ends every concert, with an encore performance of "Fancy." And, although she wasn't sporting the signature red dress, the crowd appreciated the performance of what she refers to as her "possible signature hit."
Established in 1974, DPAO provides individualized services to developmentally disabled children and adults in Jefferson and Lewis counties.
The services are primarily geared to helping families cope with the stress of caring for their disabled loved ones in their own homes.
The final segment of the DPAO Summer Concert series will feature Dan Zanes and Friends on Aug. 13 at the Watertown Fairgrounds Arena, showcasing their collection of original children's songs.
General admission tickets are available at www.dpao.org
, by calling 782-0044 / 800-533-2859, in person at the DPAO office on 617 Davidson St. in Watertown, or at all area Kinney Drugs and Price Chopper locations.