Dolly dazzles FNQ audience /Newsport

Monday February 24th 2014

Dolly dazzles FNQ audience

Superstar country songstress Dolly Parton has captivated a capacity crowd at Cairns Convention Centre.

Digging deep into her musical canon, Ms Parton's 10-piece band opened with an instrumental medley jam packed with motifs from her biggest hits before the legendary performer emerged centre stage.

The raconteur regaled the audience with personal tales of growing up with her eleven brothers and sisters in the Smoky Mountains of East Tennessee.

Longtime fan Vicki Fowles, 55, said Ms Parton lived up to her expecations.

"I've been waiting to see Dolly Parton since I was born," she said.

"My mother brought me up on Dolly in the womb.

"There should be more. Jolene was awesome. I love that song but all of them were great."

Kathy Emslie, 62, saw Ms Parton perform at her 2011 Brisbane show.

Not having to travel this time made the experience even more special, she said.

"These big stars only come to Cairns once in a blue moon, so it was worth paying the money," Ms Emslie said.

Ms Parton's reputation as an interpreter was only enhanced on the evening, sneaking in some Alicia Keys and turning Bon Jovi's 'Lay Your Hands on Me' into a gospel number.

'Country-fied' versions of Dylan's 'Don't Think Twice' and Collective Soul's 'Shine' were other standout moments in a 160-minute long set.

Ms Parton's Cairns performance is the second last of the Australian leg of her Blue Smoke World Tour.

In between songs, she said she 'loved' visiting Australia.

"It was like missing home folks so we thought we oughta come back again," she said.

Ms Parton closed with her three most enduring tracks, 'Islands in the Stream', 'Nine to Five' and 'I Will Always Love You'.

She plays her final show in Perth on Thursday.