On Friday July 27th, 2018, country legend Reba McEntire (do we still need to use her last name?) performed at Casino Rama in Rama Ontario, north of Toronto. This show showcased Reba’s greatest hits and told stories of how some of the songs came to light.
The show started promptly at 9pm and kicked off with her number one hit single single from 2010 “Turn on the Radio“. She came on from stage-right wearing a blue sequenced jacket, and totally owned the entire stage. It was a great choice to get the crowd excited and ready for the rest of the show.
After “Love Revival” she and her 8-piece band went into a medley of a handful of her early hits and encouraged her captivated audience to sing along – which we did… loudly! “Walk on” and “Little Rock” had the audience singing and clapping along the loudest.
Once the medley was complete, she addressed the audience for the first time and talked to us about the schedule for the night. How she and her band were excited to share some of her biggest hits and the stories behind them. The concert was already shaping up to be amazing, but the promise to get an inside look at how these songs came to life was just about enough to make anyone float!
Reba then went through a huge amount of her library (it’s hard to believe she barely scratched the surface of her repertoire). Some of the highlights were when she sang the first single “Back to God” off her first gospel album. She explained how she had always been reluctant to do a gospel album, despite the fact that her colleagues and friends always encouraged her to do one. Reba’s sister Susie McEntire is the family gospel singer, and Reba didn’t want to step on her toes. But when she asked for her sister’s blessing on the gospel album, Susie emphatically agreed!
Thankfully Susie agreed! Reba’s gospel album won a DOVE award, AND a Grammy. “Back to God” is a song that is so poignant and needed during this politically charged time. It really puts the whole world into perspective. There were definitely some tears in the audience.
Another tear jerker was “The Greatest Man I Never Knew”. As with the record, she performed this song acoustically with her guitarist. This song came with a story about her upbringing. How she and her family worked hard on their ranch in a small Oklahoma town of 18 people (she joked that 6 of them were McEntire’s). She went on to talk about her father, and how he was a great rancher. While she was singing this song, there were images of her family on the screens.
It was really touching – and impossible not to feel that lump in your throat throughout.
When it came time for her to sing her smash hit “Does He Love You”, her backup vocalist / fiddler / guitarist Jennifer Wrinkle came along and sang Linda Davis’ part – and she totally nailed it! When the song started, Reba was over on stage-right, and Wrinkle was on stage-left to sing the back and forth at one another, ending with the two of them standing back-to-back belting out.
At this point, Reba introduced us all to her fellow band mates. When she got to her bass player, she totally embarrassed him by letting the audience know that it was his birthday. So naturally, the entire crowd sang Happy Birthday to him. He went beet red and said that he had never been so terrified in his life! It was a really sweet moment.
After a couple more songs, the whole band came together for an acoustic set, giving the drummer and bass player a bit of a break. They performed stripped own versions of “Somebody Should Leave”, “How Blue”, “And Still”, and “Why Not Tonight”. Each song came with a bit of a story.
Reba started talking about her hit TV shoe “Reba”, when all of a sudden it appeared as though the screens have been hacked into. We hear a VERY familiar voice, and the crowd went WILD! The screens came into focus and Barbra Jean (Melissa Peterman) took over the screen to talk to Reba. They had a hilarious banter that could only happen between Reba and Barbra Jean. So naturally, Reba then sang the theme song “I’m a Survivor”.
There were a couple more songs when it came time for the concert to wrap up. She sang “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” another very popular song. She left the stage, but we all knew that couldn’t possibly be it. She couldn’t do a concert without performing her signature song “Fancy”. Once the lights went down and people started leaving (amateurs) the iconic noice of a voice yelling out the name “Fancy”came out. The crowd. Went. BANANAS!
Reba came out from the wings in that iconic red dress that helped make the song so famous. Everyone was up on their feet, celebrating, and singing along. She brought the ceiling down! When she finished, she left the stage, the band played her out, and when they finally ended, the cheering and applause started. It was really something spectacular to witness.
This show was so amazing. It’s so obvious why she has had such a long and amazing career, which continues to see success. It’s like she’ll never stop!
If you haven’t had the chance to see Reba live, then you are really missing out. But until you get the chance to see her for yourself, we have put together a Spotify playlist with the exact setlist from the show. Enjoy!
Listen to Reba’s concert at Casino Rama
Setlist for Reba McEntire at Casino Rama on July 27, 2018
- Turn on the Radio
- Love Revival
- Medley consisting of:
- Fear of Being Alone
- The Heart is a Lonely Hunter
- Walk On
- Little Rock
- One Promise too Late
- Whoever’s in New England
- Back to God
- One Less Heart
- The Greatest Man I Never Knew
- I’d Rather Ride Around With You
- The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia
- Does He Love You
- Going Out Like That
- Happy Birthday
- Swing Low Sweet Chariot / Swing Down Chariot
- Somebody Should Leave
- How Blue
- And Still
- Why Not Tonight
- I’m A Survivor
- Is There Life Out There
- Take It Back
- Why Haven’t I Heard From You
In country music, the Front Porch has long been a place of reflection. A place where you can look at the life you have inside that front door. A place where time almost seems to stand still, where you can get away. It’s also a place where you can go to observe the world as it passes by you. To think about your place out there beyond the driveway.