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February 19, 2019

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Dixie Chicks: Reunited and ready to roll at Las Vegas Arena in ’16

Dixie Chicks

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Dixie Chicks.

Dixie Chicks Wide Open Spaces

Dixie Chicks Not Ready to Make Nice

Fifteen years ago, Arizona Charlie’s General Manager Ron Lurie led a tour of the hallway leading to the hotel’s Palace Grand Theater days before the venue closed. Posters of those who played Palace Grand hung on the walls, and Lurie ticked off many of the famous and would-be-famous acts to grace that stage.

One was Dixie Chicks. They played Arizona Charlie’s, in 1993, when no major record label would sign the band, and no arena would book them to perform.

Fifteen years on, Dixie Chicks have been announced as one of the first acts to play the 20,000-seat Las Vegas Arena.

Made official this morning is Dixie Chicks — Natalie Maines, Emily Robinson and Martie Maguire — will play the arena July 16 during its “DCX MMXVI World Tour" (that Roman numeral translates to 2016). Tickets start at $54 and are on sale to the public 10 a.m. Saturday at LiveNation.com and AXS.com; those who hold a Citi credit card are given early access Wednesday at CitiPrivatePass.com.

Dixie Chicks are the second country act (George Strait being the first) announced to play Las Vegas Arena. It also is the second tour produced by Live Nation, which is seeking to expand its empire on the Strip, playing an arena that is a partnership between MGM Resorts and AEG Live (Janet Jackson’s tour stop next May also is a Live Nation production).

The series of Dixie Chicks performances are billed as a reunion tour. The dates represent the U.S. swing for the band’s European tour, which begins in Amsterdam on April 20 and ends in Belgium on May 4.

Along with their long-ago booking at Arizona Charlie’s (now Arizona Charlie’s Decatur), Dixie Chicks appeared in a distinctive Las Vegas showcase in 2002 — at MGM Grand Garden Arena for a VH1 “Divas” concert telecast, joining an assortment of stars including Celine Dion, Cher, Stevie Nicks, Shakira, Anastacia and Mary J. Blige. They played Grand Garden Arena again in 2006 on their “Accidents and Accusations Tour.”

Once one of the hottest recording acts of any genre, Dixie Chicks have sold more than 30 million albums and have had two albums — 1998’s “Wide Open Spaces” and its follow-up, “Fly” — surpass 10 million copies sold. But the band has been inactive recently, has not toured since 2013 and has not released an album of new material since 2006’s “Taking the Long Way.”

In a moment that seems eons ago, the band weathered an international controversy at the start of the Iraq War. The incident unfolded in March 2003 when Maines, who opposed the war, told an audience in London that she was “ashamed” President Bush was from the band’s home state of Texas.

The ensuing controversy led to a cacophony of criticism, reaching a crest with the band being booed every time its name was mentioned at the 2003 Academy of Country Music Awards telecast, also broadcast from MGM Grand.

The big winner that night, taking Entertainer of the Year, was someone with whom Dixie Chicks had feuded: Toby Keith. And you know where Keith once headlined before he hit it big? Arizona Charlie’s. Same year as Dixie Chicks, in fact. It proves that country music, similar to Las Vegas, can be such a small community.

Follow John Katsilometes on Twitter at Twitter.com/JohnnyKats. Also, follow “Kats With the Dish” at Twitter.com/KatsWiththeDish.

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