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Kenny Rogers Performs At The Puyallup County Fair
By Ram Samudrala
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The Puyallup County Fair in the Western Washington Fairgrounds was like any other fair--wholesome fun for the whole family--with the exception of a great family concert lineup. I decided to check it out the day Kenny Rogers performed, the man who gave us the “The Gambler” (song and movie) and Kenny Rogers Roasters.

As was to be expected, given the recent events in America, the show opened with “The Star Spangled Banner” and the Pledge of Allegiance. It definitely was interesting to see this (finally?) happen in America, considering that I've been in countries where this is routine (the national anthem being played before every concert/movie/etc.).

Rogers opened the set with a couple of fast tunes that he said left the audience's mouths open. He promised not to continue with this trend, but a lot of the songs performed were on the faster side, many with a funky groove to them. The set list for the show included his classic hits including “Ruby, Don't Take Your Love to Town,” “Coward of the County” (which was missing a verse), “Daytime Friends, Nighttime Lovers,” “Lady,” “The Gambler,” “Lucille,” and “Islands in the Stream.”

Besides the great music, which had a distinctive rock (as opposed to country) feel to it, Rogers also cracked a lot of funny jokes, including a hilarious one where he said the swaying crowd resembled a thousand Ray Charles when he was performing “Lucille.” (Clearly Rogers didn't feel the need to tone down his humour in the light of tragedy, which was a good choice.) He also threw Frisbees with amazing accuracy. A true entertainer.

Kenny Rogers also did away with a practice (one that I also find pretty lame) of returning for an encore. He mentioned how, after performing “The Gambler” and “Lucille,” the lights would go out and he'd stand by the side and wait to return. He said two walks back to the stage were too much.

There are periods in my life where an artist makes an impression on me but then any output before or after that period doesn't do much at all. So for the rest of my life, I am familiar and even moved by my set of favourite songs by the artist. Kenny Rogers is one such artist. There was a time when I was very young when I really liked his music (mainly his mainstream hits) and I still continue to like them. But most of his recent songs, even though they are okay, don’t do much for me. Why I don't know. But the good thing was that he played almost all the tunes I like sung by him. Overall, this was a show that combined stand-up humour with some classic Kenny Rogers tunes. Don't miss it if you are or ever were into Kenny Rogers' music.

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