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GEORGE JONES: LIVE WITH THE POSSUM

By • Jan 28th, 2001 •

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“Does this guy ever have fans or what?” That was the comment my spouse made after enjoying the George Jones concert at the recently created entertainment center called Sam’s Town Live! The newly expanded 13,000 square foot room holds 1,100 seats and was sold out days before the event by a near-fanatical audience. They knew the words and vigorously sang along with the seasoned entertainer known to them as The Possum.

Both Jones and his fans are well aware of his history of alcoholism and family problems that led to disappointment with many audiences across the country. In fact, fifteen minutes before the concert was to start a man stunned the crowd by simply stating that he had an announcement about George Jones. As the audience hushed expecting the worst he simply said, “George Jones is here.” There was both relief and exuberation. After all he is still known as “No Show Jones.”

The hard times seem to be well behind him and he even uses the words on his tee shirts and other paraphernalia that are gobbled up by adoring fans. Although Jones makes many comments leading people to believe he longs for a hard drink, he has been off the bottle for a long time – well over a decade – and he can captivate an audience who are quite willing to forgive the past.

Jones has been picking and singing since he was nine years old and signed his first record contract in 1955. His style is pure country and he makes no bones about it. Pushing 70, a birthday he will hit this year, George Jones’ voice is nearly indistinguishable from that of over forty years ago. And what a career it has been. He first hit number one on the country charts in 1959 with “White Lighting” although he had come close in 1956 with “Why Baby Why”. Twice he has won Grammies, though twenty years apart. In 1980 he was country vocalist of the year with the ever-popular “He Stopped Loving Her Today”. Then, in 1999 he won again with “Choices”. Performing both at this concert he received standing ovations.

Throughout the concert George is supported by the seven member, and very talented, Jones Boys. Featured, and not to be missed, are the adroit fiddle renditions of “Black Mountain Rag” and “Fire on the Mountain” played by the legendary Jim Buchanan.

The venue for these concerts is relatively new. Sam’s Town has long offered off-strip entertainment and is known as “Where Locals Bring Their Friends.” In 2000 Sam’s Town added a unique multi-functional entertainment center that can be conformed to meet varying performance requirements. They are now frequently offering top-notch concerts such as George Jones. If you’re coming to Las Vegas you would be well served to check and see who might be performing at that time. If not, watch for George Jones as he tours the country. If he performs near you and you like country music, don’t miss him.

Sam’s Town Hotel & Gambling Hall, 5111 Boulder Highway, Las Vegas, Nevada 89122. 702.456.7777. Tickets to all events at Sam’s Town Live! can be purchased through Tickets.com

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