Country queen Reba McEntire warms up Waterfront

American country music artist and actress Reba McEntire, center, and her band grace Bangor's Waterfront Concerts stage Saturday night, Sept. 17, 2011.
American country music artist and actress Reba McEntire, center, and her band grace Bangor's Waterfront Concerts stage Saturday night, Sept. 17, 2011.
Posted Sept. 17, 2011, at 9:45 p.m.
Last modified Sept. 18, 2011, at 2:37 p.m.
American country music duo Susie Brown, left, and Danelle Leverett of The JaneDear Girls emote on stage as the opening act for Reba McEntire Saturday night, Sept. 17, 2011.
American country music duo Susie Brown, left, and Danelle Leverett of The JaneDear Girls emote on stage as the opening act for Reba McEntire Saturday night, Sept. 17, 2011.

The queen of country music, Reba McEntire, was a warm, energetic presence during her concert on the Bangor Waterfront Saturday night — keeping audience members toasty warm, even as the temperature dipped close to 40 degrees, the coldest it’s been so far this month.

McEntire, a recent inductee into the Country Music Hall of Fame and one of the highest selling female artists of all time, played both golden oldies and new hits during her near-sellout show. The Oklahoma native, who has released 26 full-length albums and countless other compilations, has a wide variety of songs to choose from. She appeared onstage rising up from beneath a large platform, to loud cheers from across the crowd.

Country fans traveled from as far away as Quebec to hear the red-headed diva. Thunder Flick and Brenda Hamel of Sanford came up for the show, their first time on the Bangor Waterfront.

“I heard about the show last week on the radio, and as soon as we heard it, Brenda said, ‘That’s the one person I’d want to see live,’” said Flick. “I said, ‘Well you better get your phone and get some tickets, cause we’re going!’”

“I’m a huge fan. Have been for a long time,” said Hamel, who counts “The Heart Don’t Lie” as one of her favorite songs.

Audience members heard songs off her most recent album, “All the Women I Am,” like “When Loves Gets Ahold Of You.” They were even treated to one of her earliest hits, “Can’t Even Get the Blues,” originally released in 1982, and her cover of “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia.” McEntire had an eight-piece band, boasting two fiddle players and multiple guitars and mandolins — but her rich, expressive voice soared above everything.

Some technical difficulties meant McEntire ad-libbed some humorous stories in between her second and third song — and threw on a jacket.

“If you haven’t noticed, it’s a little chilly,” said McEntire, while onstage. “I’m glad to be back in Maine. You folks have always treated us real good. It’s beautiful up here!”

Opening act the JaneDear Girls were a high energy start to the night. The country duo, made up of Susie Brown and Danielle Leverett, were, as McEntire called them, “cute as a button.” They played a set largely comprised of covers — but mixed in with the country songs was a rock medley featuring everything from Michael Jackson to Green Day to Weezer to AC/DC to Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir” – complete with a country-fied version of the string parts on that song. They’re certainly an act to look out for, hot on the heels of their debut album.

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