I dig Chicks. Not just because they have perfect harmony. Not just because they are superior instrumentalists. And not just because they are trendy, creative, and fun. I dig the Dixie Chicks because while they take their jobs seriously, they also know that they have to laugh along the way. And oh, do they ever.

While the Friday, October 6, performance at The Mark was exceptional in terms of the quality of the Dixie Chicks’ music, even an anti-Chickster would have had a great time.

The Chicks lived up to their recent Country Music Association’s Entertainers of the Year title by delivering several surprises for fans. The first was a slide show. While this might sound lame, it was quite hilarious as Natalie, Emily, and Martie took punches at one another, poking fun at pictures of high-school proms, high bangs, and buck teeth. Next came life-like snow falling from the rafters to the sounds of “Cold Day in July,” followed by the three chicks scattered throughout the audience – a risky move in itself – as they sang the controversial “Goodbye Earl.”

As if the Chicks haven’t faced enough controversy with “Goodbye Earl,” a song in which a battered wife and her friend get away with killing her abusive husband, lead singer Natalie Maines is now expecting. While that might make touring tough on the newlywed, it certainly didn’t affect her performance, as she moved with agility and sounded as crystal clear as ever.

Perhaps the Chicks’ songs are a little too edgy for the young teen and preteen girls that packed the Mark wearing their Dixie Chick look-alike leather pants, sequined tank tops, and boas. But the group is encouraging creativity and a certain girl power that is endearing yet empowering, fun yet smart.

And they back it with such powerful playing that you can’t help but want to jump on their bandwagon. Or as the Chicks jokingly call it in their new release, the Sin Wagon.

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