The Joplin Globe, Joplin, MO

Best of Branson

July 12, 2013

Dave Woods: Summer, fall concerts abound in Branson

BRANSON, Mo. — It's a mistake I hope never to repeat.

I had big plans to go see George Jones this fall at the Oak Ridge Boys Theatre in Branson. I missed the aging country crooner, known to many simply as "The Possum," on several occasions during the past couple of years. I've been out of town when he played nearby casinos. I even failed to get my act together and make a reservation when he played Branson.

Jones died earlier this year, and I'll never get the chance to hear "No-Show Jones" in person. That's my loss. Jones was country when country wasn't cool. I was, too.

This fall, dozens of country, pop musicians and classic comedians will play one- or two-night gigs at a variety of Branson venues. Bill Cosby and Rich Little will do shows; high-energy singer Neal McCoy -- who I'm told does a killer show -- will perform several dates; and Johnny Mathis returns to Branson for a two-night engagement. Talk about a diverse lineup.

Randy Travis and Clint Black will entertain country music lovers with scores of hits at Andy Williams Moon River Theatre during separate shows. I saw Black in concert almost 20 years ago, and the recent escapades of Travis got my attention. Just Google it.

Crystal Gayle, Loretta Lynn's younger sister, Pam Tillis and Lorrie Morgan will take the stage as part of RFD-TV Theatre's "Up Close Concert Series."

Music fans who remember the 1960s -- if you say you were there you're lying, I'm told -- will groove to the Happy Together Tour at Moon River Theatre featuring The Turtles featuring Flo & Eddie, Monkees singer Micky Dolenz, Gary Puckett & The Union Gap Band and Mark Lindsay, former lead singer of Paul Revere & The Raiders. And rock fans can catch Journey and folk-rock group America this fall in the Ozarks.

I want to see them all.

Just last weekend I missed my chance to see Willie Nelson in Joplin. I'm still a little miffed at Willie. He's ditched me a couple of times in the recent past. I just need to get over it and catch him next time around, assuming there is a next time.

My advice: Don't wait for next time. It may not come around.

R.I.P., Possum.

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