Diamond Rio – December 21, 2019 at Treasure Island Casino
Review and photos by Jim Zons
On Saturday, December 21, 2019, country music legends Diamond Rio brought their Holiday and Hits Tour to Treasure Island Casino to ring in the holidays! This is the second time I’ve seen Diamond Rio this year, and their tight harmonies and excellent musicianship always makes it a treat.
The show is billed as the “Holiday and Hits Tour” but a better description might be “hits and holiday” since the way the setlist was organized, the band first played their many chart topping hits before segueing into all Christmas favorites.
Right out of the blocks, “Unbelievable” got everyone’s hands clapping, which continued with the up-tempo hit “Norma Jean Riley.” After slowing things down with “Beautiful Mess,” the band had everyone singing along with probably their biggest hit, “Meet in the Middle.” After two more hits (“One More Day” and “How Your Love Makes Me Feel”) lead singer Marty Roe introduced their Christmas segment, which started with their one original Christmas song, “The Star Still Shines.” From that point forward, it was Christmas classics and singalong songs including “The Christmas Song,” “Let It Snow, Let It Snow, Let It Snow,” and a fun mashup of “Dueling Banjos/Nutcracker Suite!”
At one point, bassist Dana Williams showed off his comic timing by bringing up two audience members to singing “Jingle Bells” competition … a drunk guy who’s name I think was Steve and a young woman who’s name, I shit you not, was Jamie Lee Curtis! I think everyone thought drunk Steve was going steal the show, but then little Jamie Lee Curtis got up and belted out an AMAZING bluesy version of “Jingle Bells” … making Drunk Steve hang his head in shame. The both won CDs and Diamond Rio Christmas ornaments; although Drunk Steve’s ornament was a 2018 edition that Dana changed to a 2019 with a Sharpie!
From that point, the concert transitioned into much more traditional Christmas program with a piano solo version of “Christ the King” by pianist Dan Truman, followed by a spoken Bible reading. I really enjoyed mandolin player Gene Johnson’s version of “O Come, All Ye Faithful” and the band’s version of “Oh Holy Night” with their tight harmonies gave me goose chills.
The evening ended with the band inviting everyone to stand and sing-a-long with “Silent Night” … a fitting way to get everyone in the Christmas spirit just four days before the holiday. Merry Christmas from Diamond Rio … and 1013 Music Reviews!