Ed. Note: This review was originally published in December 2010
by Julian Spivey
Glen Campbell (and seemingly everybody who’s related to Glen Campbell) put on a fantastic show at the Reynolds Performance Hall on the campus of the University of Central Arkansas in Conway on Sunday (Dec. 12).
Campbell, one of the finest vocalists in the great history of country music, performed all of his biggest hits, played some great guitar licks and entertained the audience with some Christmas tunes.
At times during the show, Campbell had a little trouble remembering all the lyrics to the songs (Editor’s note: we now know it was the beginning stages of Alzheimer’s), but his voice is almost at the level it was back in the ‘60s and his wonderful guitar playing hasn’t lost a step. Campbell is one of the greatest guitar players in country music history, right up there with Willie Nelson, Jerry Reed and Brad Paisley.
Campbell opened his set with his 1967 hit and first big career single “Gentle On My Mind.” Hit after hit followed including “By the Time I Get to Phoenix” (1967), “Galveston,” a number one hit from 1969 (and personal favorite of mine) and “Country Boy (You Got Your Feet in L.A.).
Campbell also performed one of his lesser known hits “Where’s the Playground, Susie?” from 1969, as well as “True Grit” the theme song to the 1969 film that Campbell co-starred in with legendary John Wayne.
Campbell filled in his set at Reynolds with many Christmas tunes, including “Santa Claus is Coming to Town” and “Silver Bells” among others. His daughter, Debby, also added a Christmas song of her own, singing lead on “Blue Christmas.”
As previously mentioned, Campbell’s concert at Reynolds turned into somewhat of a family reunion. His daughter Debby performed a few songs with Campbell and sang back-up for the rest. She also performed the Fleetwood Mac classic “Landslide” with her half-sister, Ashley, who also sings back-up, plays keyboard, banjo and guitar in Campbell’s band. Ashley also thrilled the crowd with a spot-on cover of KT Tunstall’s 2005 hit “Black Horse and the Cherry Tree.”
Two of Campbell’s sons, Shannon and Cal, also perform in his band. Shannon plays guitar, while Cal is the group’s drummer.
Campbell was later joined on the Reynolds’ stage by his sister and friends to perform his hit “Try a Little Kindness.” His brothers, Gerald and Shorty, also joined him on stage. Gerald performed a rather nice version of the country standard “Hadacol Boogie.” Shorty performed the Western swinger “Right or Wrong,” which has been recorded by numerous artists like Bob Wills and George Strait. The three brothers then performed Brenda Lee’s “I Want to Be Wanted.”
Campbell finished up his set with three of his biggest hits and number one records: “Southern Nights” (1977), “Wichita Lineman” (1968) and “Rhinestone Cowboy” (1975).
Campbell returned to the stage soon after for an encore of the Righteous Brothers’ classic “You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feeling.” Campbell said that he performed as a studio musician with the Righteous Brothers and that he always loved this song.