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Concert: Glen Campbell in Los Angeles

Glen Campbell made his final stand in Los Angeles Sunday night (6/24) in a show that was part tribute and part showcase for the legendary guitar-slinger and vocalist. // Tour dates at SoundSpike

Glen Campbell made his final stand in Los Angeles Sunday night (6/24) in a show that was part tribute and part showcase for the legendary guitar-slinger and vocalist.

The event was a unique one for the tour, which is Campbell's victory lap, allowing him to publicly close out his career after making public that he'd been diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2011. Rather than go out quietly with few public appearances, as Ronald Reagan and Charlton Heston chose after disclosing their respective fights with the disease, Campbell went in a whole different direction, recording a final album and mounting a tour now deep into a year of dates.

A postcard-perfect night at the storied Hollywood Bowl brought a sense of majesty to the proceedings, which kicked off early with a rotation of artists covering some of the broad array of songs Campbell had a hand in creating in the studio as part of the "Wrecking Crew," a˙renowned group of session players that trafficked through many a hit record of the '60' and early '70s.˙

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Things began wobbly, with The Dandy Warhols' singer Courtney Taylor Taylor singing so poorly on "Daydream Believer" and "Last Train To Clarksville" that one wasn't sure it this was an attempt at comedy or just someone who had no business on that stage. Lucinda Williams and Kris Kristofferson brought along their own struggles with pitch, but managed to infuse some soul and grit into their songs. Williams settled most comfortably into her own "You Were Born To Be Loved" and Kristofferson wore his own "Highwayman" best.

But it was the appearance of Jenny Lewis that really kicked the early portion of the evening into high gear. Her mini-set, which blended into Jackson Browne's mini-set, provided sweetness, melody and heart. She led off with a spunky take on Lefty Frizzel's "She's Gone, Gone, Gone" and then brought out the Watson Twins for a spin of her own "Just One Of The Guys," rolling into a truly lovely duet with Browne on the Everly Brothers' "Let It Be Me," a tune Campbell recorded with Bobby Gentry in 1968.˙

From there, Browne led house band Dawes through a cover of the Beach Boys' "I Know There's An Answer" from the "Pet Sounds" sessions that Campbell played on, and his own "These Days," which Campbell recorded and partially re-wrote. Browne capped the tribute portion of the evening by bringing all the artists back on stage for a rousing take on "Viva Las Vegas," on which Campbell supplied the guitar riff that really made the song pop and become a 1964 hit for Elvis Presley.

Campbell's own set was an emotional ride from the audience side of the stage. Being aware of his condition, one can't help but watch for signs, and they seemed plentiful. His daughter Ashley (who along with two of his sons make up about half his band) dashed or called out from behind her keyboard behind him often, to remind him what song was next, to guide him toward a guitar tech waiting to make an instrument change, to actually nudge him off stage mid-set where she and her brothers did one of their tunes and he was supposed to take a short break.˙

But in song, Campbell shone, voice strong and his fretwork fluid and assured most of the time, pulling off licks at 76 that many guitarists a third his age wish they could pull off. Still, he might start a song with the wrong chord, which happened a couple of times, or take a lead into moments of looking for the key, but from opener "Gentle On My Mind" to chicken-pickin' in "Try A LIttle Kindness" to the flying fretwork in "True Grit," each drew ovations as much for his virtuosic touch as much as the ongoing remarkable triumph of his endurance.˙

Among the many high points of the night were Campbell's biggest ballads, the lush and spare "Wichita Lineman" and the aching "By The Time I Get To Phoenix," both thick with memories and just rich in songcraft, given flight by a solid band backing a veteran showman arguably going out near the top of his game.

Thank you, Mr. Campbell, and goodbye.˙

Glen Campbell Setlist:
Gentle on My Mind
By the Time I Get to Phoenix
Try a Little Kindness
Where's the Playground Susie
Didn't We
I Can?t Stop Loving You
True Grit / Lovesick Blues
Dueling Banjo (w/ Ashley Campbell)
Digging Deep (Ashley and Shannon Campbell)
Any Trouble (Ashley and Shannon Campbell)
Your Amazing Grace
The Moon's a Harsh Mistress
Wichita Lineman
Rhinestone Cowboy

Southern Nights
A Better Place

June 2012
26 - Sandy, UT - Sandy City Amphitheater
28 - Highland Park, IL - Ravinia Pavilion
29 - Green Bay, WI - Meyer Theatre
30 - Bayfield, WI - Lake Superior Big Top Chautauqua

July 2012
7 - San Antonio, TX - Majestic Theatre
8 - Galveston, TX - The Grand 1894 Opera House
14 - Atlanda, gA - Chastian Park Amphitheater
15 - Panama City, FL - Marina Civic Center
21 - Cary, NC - Koka Booth Amphitheatre
22, 23 - Alexandria, VA - The Birchmere Music Hall
25 - Goshen, IN - Elkhart County 4-H Fair
27 - Springfield, MO - Ozark Empire Fair
29 - Albuquerque, NM - Route 66 Casino

August 2012
10 - Christchurch, New Zealand - CBS Arena
12 - Auckland Central, New Zealand - Vector Arena
15, 16 - Sydney, Australia - State Theatre
19 - South Bank QLD, Australia - QPAC
21 - Perth, Australia - Riverside Theatre
23 - Melbourne, Australia - The Palais Theatre
24 - Broadmeadow Nsw, Australia - Newcastle Entertainment Centre

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