Randy Travis delivers 25 years of hits at The Joint

Another weekend is in the books, and another country music legend has made his way across the stage at The Joint.  Friday night was a night of old-time country music, as a sold-out crowd enjoyed Randy Travis at the Hard Rock Hotel and Casino’s fabulous concert venue.

About ten minutes after the scheduled start time the lights went down and eight band members, all dressed in black, took their marks. The crowd erupted in cheers as Travis emerged from behind a curtain, wearing cowboy boots, blue jeans and a black western jacket and belted out “Whisper My Name.” From there, Travis took the audience back in time on a journey through his 25-years in the music business.

A simple “thank you” was all that the soft-spoken singer offered following his first song, before going into the rich in country twang “The Hole.” Travis continued on through his set with “Hard Rock Bottom of Your Heart” before he stopped to great the crowd.

Travis told the audience how glad he was to finally be back in Tulsa, adding that the last time he was scheduled to be in town the weather didn’t quite cooperate. “I woke up hearing the tires on the bus start spinning,” said Travis. “Then I felt the back of the bus do this, and I thought, we’re done. We went backward into a parking lot and that’s where we stayed,” he added with a laugh.

Travis continued with the crowd, even poking fun at himself. “In June we’re releasing an album for 25 years, it goes so quick, seems like it’s only been five and I’m only 36 years-old,” he added. On the album, a compilation, he said that he and Alan Jackson perform a medley of “Better Class of Losers” and Jackson’s “She’s Got the Rhythm, I’ve Got the Blues”. Travis said that both number-one songs were written in one day at the Kentucky State Fair.

Travis then played the medley for the audience. The two songs meshed well, with Travis combining verses from each with seamless transitions between the two.

Continuing into the heart of the set, Travis played a few songs he said record labels called “too country,” and added that they said they would not sell records or tickets. “1982” was first up, followed by “Reasons I Cheat,” “Diggin’ Up Bones,” and “On the Other Hand.”

After stopping to tell another funny story to the audience, Travis continued plowing through his set, which totaled  20 songs. Included in his set list were a couple of new songs, along with some classics. “I Told You So,” “He Walked On Water,” “If I Didn’t Have You,” and “Too Gone, Too Long” all were met with loud cheers.

While Travis seemed to have some trouble with a few high notes, otherwise his delivery was perfect, particularly on his cover of Brook Benton’s “It’s Just A Matter Of Time.” This is one song that Travis was made to sing, as his deep voice became an instrument of it’s own.

 {gallery}entertainment/2011/randy_travis/gallery{/gallery}Tulsa Today Photo Gallery by Kevin Pyle 

Travis finished up his set with his wildly popular “Forever And Ever, Amen” before thanking the audience and making his way to the edge of the stage to sign autographs.

As fans began to walk toward the exits, Travis walked back to the microphone and told the crowd there was one more song. “I said earlier that if there are any requests that I know most of the words to, I’ll sing it,” said Travis. “This is one of those songs,” he added before singing his 1988 number one hit,  “Honky Tonk Moon.”

While Travis’ trademark hair seems to have a little more gray in it nowadays, one thing has not changed since the singer was dishing out the hits in the 80’s and 90’s. Travis is one of a few live performers that delivers their songs as close to the recorded quality as possible, and Friday night was no exception.

Score this show as another hit for The Joint. It is just one of what promises to be a long list of great shows the venue has lined up for 2011.