Dwight Yoakam felt a little bit under the weather on Thursday night — third round of bronchitis in five months, he cheerfully complained at one point — but other than touch of hoarseness every now and then that didn’t make a whit of difference to the power of the show the 60-year-old country and roots rock star delivered in Los Angeles on Thursday.
Despite his ailments Yoakam and his tight band blazed through 35 songs – 35! – in a show that ran more than two hours at the Hollywood Palladium, pulling hits and covers from throughout his career as a musician and a music fan, and sharing stories between songs about his earliest days in L.A. in the ’80s when his kind of raw country landed him in the middle of the city’s punk rock scene.
“It’s been a pleasure to come back and play a couple of shows again with X after all these years,” Yoakam said of that seminal L.A. band that celebrated punk through roots music and made a perfect opener for him at the Palladium. “They let me open for them when I was just starting out, a tiny little fella.”
Yoakam opened the show with a stinging take on the late Chuck Berry’s “Little Queenie,” arriving on stage in his signature attire – pale Stetson shading his eyes, tight jeans that hung past the heels of his cowboy boots, a denim jacket with just a touch of rhinestone bedazzlement across the bottom of the back.
A pair of his own tunes followed, “The Big Time” and “Please, Please Baby,” before he slipped in another complementary cover, Elvis Presley’s “Little Sister.” And that pattern pretty much set the course for the next few hours, though as signaled by the Chuck Berry number that kicked off the set Yoakam seemed particularly reflective about his past heroes who’ve shuffled off to that golden honky tonk in the sky.
Merle Haggard and Buck Owens, two legendary purveyors of the Bakersfield style of hard country, each got multi-song tributes during the show, with…