A world-class performance by Texas band The Dixie Chicks thrilled a near-capacity crowd in the Hawke's Bay last night.
Led by pint-sized dynamo lead singer Natalie Maines, the country music trio, which also features sisters Martie Erwin Maguire and Emily Burns Strayer, gave the crowd at Mission Estate Winery more than their money's worth with a two-hour show of the highest quality.
Backed by a five-piece male band and with a slick set, the band barely took a breath as they powered through song after song.
One of the early tunes the band played was the 1960s Thunderclap Newman hit Something in the Air, which Natalie Maines indicated was the band's response to Donald Trump being the President of the United States.
A crowd favourite was the Stevie Nicks Hit Landslide, which the Dixie Chicks have made their own over the years.
Wide Open Spaces was also well received, but the song of the night was the band's biggest hit Not Ready to Make Nice.
The song, a protest about the way the band was treated after criticising then US President George W. Bush in 2003, has not lost any of its power and meaning after all these years.
It was the second last song of the night because Natalie Maines told the crowd they did not want everyone leaving the concert angry "because there is too much anger in the world at the moment".
The concert ended on a positive note with the rousing Better Way.
The large crowd was made up of many people who had travelled far and wide to attend
the event and Hawke's Bay retailers and hospitality industry reaped the benefits in the days leading up to the show.
A strong line-up of singers and musicians went before the Dixie Chicks, with gates opening at 1pm. The crowd was treated to good performances by Badger, Kaylee Beel, Morgan Evans and supporting act Avalanche City. Avalanche City has opened for the Dixie Chicks throughout the Australasian tour and showed why last night.
One of the surprise highlights of the day's entertainment was Australian country singer Morgan Evans, who got the crowd in a party mood early on.
But it was the Dixie Chicks who everyone had come to see. Coming on a little later than the 7.45pm they were expected at, they did not disappoint.