'The George Jones Show'

Justin Brake
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Country music legend performs at Mile One in St. John's

As people take their seats a spotlight illuminates a man on stage who has an important message: "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make about George Jones."

Given the legendary country singer's notoriety for last minute cancellations, which earned him the nickname "No Show Jones," the sudden deafening silence was not surprising. The announcer, however, was Jones' bass player Vaughan Reed, who was only joking around with the audience. Jones soon stepped out onto the stage.

Country crooner George Jones sings one of his songs at the opening of his show at Mile One Centre in St. John's Monday evening. The singer played to a capacity crowd. Photo by Keith Gosse/The Telegram

As people take their seats a spotlight illuminates a man on stage who has an important message: "Excuse me ladies and gentlemen, I have an announcement to make about George Jones."

Given the legendary country singer's notoriety for last minute cancellations, which earned him the nickname "No Show Jones," the sudden deafening silence was not surprising. The announcer, however, was Jones' bass player Vaughan Reed, who was only joking around with the audience. Jones soon stepped out onto the stage.

It's just as well. Jones' visit to Newfoundland has been a long time coming after all and, given the demographic of some of Jones' fans, this could be the last chance to see him for many of them.

Marketed as "The George Jones Show," the event was all about seeing the man who has charted more singles than any other musician in any format of music, ever.

It was Jones' "legend" status that nearly filled Mile One Centre to capacity Monday evening, but if ticket holders were expecting to hear the hits the way they knew them, they might have been a bit disappointed.

At 76, Jones isn't out to break new ground. In fact, judging by the marketing techniques directed at the Mile One crowd - including a pitch for Newfoundlanders to order Jones' own brand of bottled water online and have it shipped from Tennessee - it would be more accurate to call the tour a cash-grab.

Marketing aside, ticket sales were about the music and Jones did in fact pen some of country music's biggest hits, including "Why Baby Why," "He Stopped Loving Her Today," "The Race Is On" and "I Don't Need Your Rockin' Chair."

And to his credit, Jones performed for a solid hour and a half and managed a couple dozen songs.

There were moments, however, when it wasn't hard to feel a bit empathetic as he struggled to hit a good number of the notes he once sang famously and gracefully. Jones even poked fun at himself for the mishaps and seemed mildly embarrassed.

Nonetheless, the crowd came alive with such songs as "Choices" and the 1985 hit "Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes," the former featuring images of Jones in his more controversial years projected onto a screen behind the stage.

Opening for Jones was Jason Byrd, an up-and-coming singer-songwriter from Florida who is managed by Jones' wife, Nancy.

Byrd's traditional style appealed to the crowd and the acoustic performance was refreshing. His time slot was short, though, as he was only to play six numbers.

He returned to the stage a few times though to sing with Jones, including the Jones and Merle Haggard duet "Yesterday's Wine".

The performances by Brittany Allyn, who filled in nicely on the duets Jones recorded with Tammy Wynette such as "Take Me" and "Golden Ring," can't go unmentioned - they were revitalizing.

Jones may still not need a rockin' chair, but he should be able to deliver a performance that can justify a $60 ticket price. Otherwise, it may be time to enjoy retirement before it's too late.

After all, in country music, without the 'tonk', you've only got 'honky.'

Marketed as 'The George Jones Show,' the event was all about seeing the man who has charted more singles than any other musician in any format of music, ever.

Geographic location: St. John's, Newfoundland, Tennessee Florida Golden Ring

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Recent comments

  • Edgar
    March 08, 2014 - 21:46

    Who opened for George jones in 2005???

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:35

    I saw George when he was here last. He has aged, no doubt about it, however he is still the greatest REAL country music singer of all time.
    Jason Byrd will be the next great one in countryt music.

  • jc
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    I REALLY QUESTION JASON BRAKE'S REPORTING. HE WAS POSITIVELY GLOWING ABOUT THE LOUSY, BORING BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH SHOW AT THE MAJESTIC BACK IN MARCH. WHILE SOME PEOPLE MAY BE ABLE TO SEE AND WRITE ON A VARIETY OF MUSIC - I really don't think Justin can write a decent review of either. That is not to say I would want a middle of the road review - I would like decent reviews and I know Justin can't do this.

  • Aubrey
    July 02, 2010 - 13:33

    Hey, folks, let's lighten up on Ol Possum and remember that he's sold more singles than any other performer in any other style of music, period. Think about it ! The Beatles, Presley, The Stones, Springsteen, Orbison, The Doors, Johnny Cash,to name only a few. George Jones has outsold them all. So he can't hit the high notes that he could 50 years ago as one self appointed reviewer noted. So what ? Most of the crap songs we hear today are tomorrow's garbage. How many of these no talents will be playing to sold out concerts 50 years from now ? Nuff said.

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:32

    Why can't you reporters just focus on the POSITIVE for once. Its exactlly the same old line as when you talk about our Newfoundland born Hockey Players, who play in the NHL; you have to go back to the dirt, before you put a positive spin on it..This Country Legend cretainly delivered a Great Show to his Fans. It was my first time seeing him and I can honestly say I was not one bit disappointed.Try to give credit where credit is due...Will you Write as good at 76 as you do now..Lets hope you learn something from this Performance..People do like some GOOD news. Well Done George Jones!

  • Chad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    Justin Brake should do a little homework and realize George Jones played Mile One Stadium November 2005. The 2005 show was considerably better than last night's show.

  • Geraldine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:28

    I shall add that the demographics eluded to in the article was ludicrous! Teens and twenty-somethings mixed with seniors, in fact they are making up a healthy percentage of the people with a new , fresh, appreciative approach to real art and talent in the traditional. George Jones was here in the 1980's, performing at the old Memorial Stadium, along with Waylon Jennings. A memorable time as well. Also, two years ago.

  • Don
    July 02, 2010 - 13:25

    He was here last year or two years ago. Great job by a legendary performer. How lucky we were to have seen him perform such popular songs that shaped country music.

  • Evelyn and Rhodie
    July 02, 2010 - 13:24

    George Jones is a country legend! We saw him in Gander on Sunday night along with our three adult children and thier spouses; we thought he was awesome for a man of 76 years. It sure bought back a lot of memories. I think you have to grow up with country music to appreciate it.

  • Joanne
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    My mother has been a fan all her life, needless to say I have been a fan all my life as well. So, it was natural for me to jump to my feet when he walked on stage. Getting to see him in concert at Mile One in St. John's on Monday night was a lifelong dream for the both of us. We flew from our tiny isolated towns on the north coast of Labrador along with 20 + other life long fans from across the Big Land . We all went to see our country music Legend in person. To hear him sing the songs as only he can sing them. We were not disappointed. No one expected The Possum to sing the hits as he did in his 20's, 30's or 40's...come on! He does not have to prove anything to those who adore his music and feel connected to the words only he can bring to life. He has paid his dues, and his place in Counrty Music history is secure. Regardless of what these later years of life do to us (and George Jones) he will always be known for his deep voice and one of a kind style. For fans in St. John's and the surrounding area, I am sure it was a treat. I even met a six year old fan with his Mother, who loved the show. Proving that George Jones has spanned decades and generations with his music. For those of us who travelled from Labrador the cost was never to great. The thrill of hearing him in person, and seeing him in person, will never fade. I won't be able to listen to his songs the same way since hearing him live. I am just thankful I was able to share the memory with my mom and friends. Music Legends are remembered by those who love them most. Their fans. George Jones will forever be remembered. Regardless of what age will bring, He is an accomplished legend who can make people feel through his music. Isn't that what it's really all about after all? I think so. It's unfortunate that the Telegram's review was written by someone who appears to care little for Country Music and those who have made it what it is today. Regardless, the thrill, and the excitement of seeing him as he walked out onto the stage will never leave me. Even now the thrill is so real. I'll forever be a George Jones fan.

  • Mary
    July 02, 2010 - 13:17

    Why can't you reporters just focus on the POSITIVE for once. Its exactlly the same old line as when you talk about our Newfoundland born Hockey Players, who play in the NHL; you have to go back to the dirt, before you put a positive spin on it..This Country Legend cretainly delivered a Great Show to his Fans. It was my first time seeing him and I can honestly say I was not one bit disappointed.Try to give credit where credit is due...Will you Write as good at 76 as you do now..Lets hope you learn something from this Performance..People do like some GOOD news. Well Done George Jones!

  • Kevin
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    I am a devote fan of George Jones and have been for many many years.He is what country music is all about. When at 76 years of age he can sing to sold out crowds that should speak for itself. No doubt his voice may sound a little weak at times. So what. He still is a crowd please. I'm so inspired by his music that I recorded a C.D. of his greatest hits. The C.D is not for sail. However, if you would like a copy please respond.

  • MP
    July 02, 2010 - 13:16

    Jones was never that great live, even 20 years ago.

  • Geraldine
    July 02, 2010 - 13:15

    George Jones is older and a trifle tired, but the ability to tug at one's heartsrings and soul will never wane. This show was beautifully organized (the screen highlights of Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes and Choices magnificent). He is at heart a simple man, still addicted to his art, who gives his all, even at the age of 76, on the second last night of a grueling, month-long tour. Show me any man who would not struggle to hit a note in such a circumstance. It was well worth the cover price, and more. A true trooper, a true human being.

  • Brad
    July 02, 2010 - 13:13

    The article leaves the impression that this was Jones' first visit to NL but that is not the case. He was here back in the 1980s, I believe, and played at the old Memorial Stadium. He may have been here even more than that but I don't recall...

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:24

    I saw George when he was here last. He has aged, no doubt about it, however he is still the greatest REAL country music singer of all time.
    Jason Byrd will be the next great one in countryt music.

  • jc
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    I REALLY QUESTION JASON BRAKE'S REPORTING. HE WAS POSITIVELY GLOWING ABOUT THE LOUSY, BORING BEDOUIN SOUNDCLASH SHOW AT THE MAJESTIC BACK IN MARCH. WHILE SOME PEOPLE MAY BE ABLE TO SEE AND WRITE ON A VARIETY OF MUSIC - I really don't think Justin can write a decent review of either. That is not to say I would want a middle of the road review - I would like decent reviews and I know Justin can't do this.

  • Aubrey
    July 01, 2010 - 20:22

    Hey, folks, let's lighten up on Ol Possum and remember that he's sold more singles than any other performer in any other style of music, period. Think about it ! The Beatles, Presley, The Stones, Springsteen, Orbison, The Doors, Johnny Cash,to name only a few. George Jones has outsold them all. So he can't hit the high notes that he could 50 years ago as one self appointed reviewer noted. So what ? Most of the crap songs we hear today are tomorrow's garbage. How many of these no talents will be playing to sold out concerts 50 years from now ? Nuff said.

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 20:21

    Why can't you reporters just focus on the POSITIVE for once. Its exactlly the same old line as when you talk about our Newfoundland born Hockey Players, who play in the NHL; you have to go back to the dirt, before you put a positive spin on it..This Country Legend cretainly delivered a Great Show to his Fans. It was my first time seeing him and I can honestly say I was not one bit disappointed.Try to give credit where credit is due...Will you Write as good at 76 as you do now..Lets hope you learn something from this Performance..People do like some GOOD news. Well Done George Jones!

  • Chad
    July 01, 2010 - 20:19

    Justin Brake should do a little homework and realize George Jones played Mile One Stadium November 2005. The 2005 show was considerably better than last night's show.

  • Geraldine
    July 01, 2010 - 20:16

    I shall add that the demographics eluded to in the article was ludicrous! Teens and twenty-somethings mixed with seniors, in fact they are making up a healthy percentage of the people with a new , fresh, appreciative approach to real art and talent in the traditional. George Jones was here in the 1980's, performing at the old Memorial Stadium, along with Waylon Jennings. A memorable time as well. Also, two years ago.

  • Don
    July 01, 2010 - 20:12

    He was here last year or two years ago. Great job by a legendary performer. How lucky we were to have seen him perform such popular songs that shaped country music.

  • Evelyn and Rhodie
    July 01, 2010 - 20:10

    George Jones is a country legend! We saw him in Gander on Sunday night along with our three adult children and thier spouses; we thought he was awesome for a man of 76 years. It sure bought back a lot of memories. I think you have to grow up with country music to appreciate it.

  • Joanne
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    My mother has been a fan all her life, needless to say I have been a fan all my life as well. So, it was natural for me to jump to my feet when he walked on stage. Getting to see him in concert at Mile One in St. John's on Monday night was a lifelong dream for the both of us. We flew from our tiny isolated towns on the north coast of Labrador along with 20 + other life long fans from across the Big Land . We all went to see our country music Legend in person. To hear him sing the songs as only he can sing them. We were not disappointed. No one expected The Possum to sing the hits as he did in his 20's, 30's or 40's...come on! He does not have to prove anything to those who adore his music and feel connected to the words only he can bring to life. He has paid his dues, and his place in Counrty Music history is secure. Regardless of what these later years of life do to us (and George Jones) he will always be known for his deep voice and one of a kind style. For fans in St. John's and the surrounding area, I am sure it was a treat. I even met a six year old fan with his Mother, who loved the show. Proving that George Jones has spanned decades and generations with his music. For those of us who travelled from Labrador the cost was never to great. The thrill of hearing him in person, and seeing him in person, will never fade. I won't be able to listen to his songs the same way since hearing him live. I am just thankful I was able to share the memory with my mom and friends. Music Legends are remembered by those who love them most. Their fans. George Jones will forever be remembered. Regardless of what age will bring, He is an accomplished legend who can make people feel through his music. Isn't that what it's really all about after all? I think so. It's unfortunate that the Telegram's review was written by someone who appears to care little for Country Music and those who have made it what it is today. Regardless, the thrill, and the excitement of seeing him as he walked out onto the stage will never leave me. Even now the thrill is so real. I'll forever be a George Jones fan.

  • Mary
    July 01, 2010 - 19:58

    Why can't you reporters just focus on the POSITIVE for once. Its exactlly the same old line as when you talk about our Newfoundland born Hockey Players, who play in the NHL; you have to go back to the dirt, before you put a positive spin on it..This Country Legend cretainly delivered a Great Show to his Fans. It was my first time seeing him and I can honestly say I was not one bit disappointed.Try to give credit where credit is due...Will you Write as good at 76 as you do now..Lets hope you learn something from this Performance..People do like some GOOD news. Well Done George Jones!

  • Kevin
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    I am a devote fan of George Jones and have been for many many years.He is what country music is all about. When at 76 years of age he can sing to sold out crowds that should speak for itself. No doubt his voice may sound a little weak at times. So what. He still is a crowd please. I'm so inspired by his music that I recorded a C.D. of his greatest hits. The C.D is not for sail. However, if you would like a copy please respond.

  • MP
    July 01, 2010 - 19:56

    Jones was never that great live, even 20 years ago.

  • Geraldine
    July 01, 2010 - 19:55

    George Jones is older and a trifle tired, but the ability to tug at one's heartsrings and soul will never wane. This show was beautifully organized (the screen highlights of Who's Gonna Fill Their Shoes and Choices magnificent). He is at heart a simple man, still addicted to his art, who gives his all, even at the age of 76, on the second last night of a grueling, month-long tour. Show me any man who would not struggle to hit a note in such a circumstance. It was well worth the cover price, and more. A true trooper, a true human being.

  • Brad
    July 01, 2010 - 19:52

    The article leaves the impression that this was Jones' first visit to NL but that is not the case. He was here back in the 1980s, I believe, and played at the old Memorial Stadium. He may have been here even more than that but I don't recall...