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‘Soul 2 Soul’ lives up to name

McGraw-Hill duo electrifies a full house of Utah fans

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FAITH HILL and TIM McGRAW's SOUL 2 SOUL TOUR 2000, Delta Center, Friday evening; one performance only.

"Ladies and gentlemen, my wife, FAITH HILL!" At the end of the night, after Hill had belted out "Go Your Own Way," Tim McGraw glowed.

"Ladies and gentlemen, my husband TIM McGRAW!" Hill seemed equally enamored, and the crowd couldn't get enough of the two most photogenic singers in country music.

Four years after the couple first fell in love, and two little girls later, the McGraw/Hill union appears stronger than ever.

The Delta Center was full, the kind of full that is common at Jazz playoffs. Not one seat was empty. Of course, this concert was sold out long ago — such is the power of the most envied couple in show business. Hill and McGraw have it all — a great marriage, jobs they both love and a happy little family.

They also have the adoration of millions of fans. And several thousand of those fans were the focus of Friday night's concert.

During Hill's set, she announced that the song selection was none of her doing — they were fans' favorites. And all she and McGraw wanted was to offer a good night, so fans could just kick back and watch the show.

In her lime-green pants and stiletto heels, Hill opened the short but volcanic set with her hit single, "This Kiss." Then came "The Way You Love Me," "The Secret of Life" and "Let Me Go," accompanied by cheering and screaming and little girls hanging over the railings trying to be noticed by Hill.

"I've been singin' since I was this high," Hill said, beginning the story of how her musical road began in Mississippi, and how she sang loud and from the heart when she was younger. Hill said she usually sang alone, but when there was accompaniment, her favorite instrument was the piano.

As she was about to sing her favorite song, the country star said, "I'm here tonight with my family, and I get to be in the same room with my fans!" And as she launched "It Matters To Me," she got a little help from the audience.

After Hill finished with her recent crossover hit single, "Breathe," she exited just as quickly as she had entered. It was her husband's turn to let it rip.

McGraw's performance was just as electrifying as Hill's. Dressed head-to-toe in black, he looked every bit the dark, handsome, 1,000-watt-smile celebrity. He jumped, ran, twirled his mike stand and, with a wink, tipped his hat.

McGraw's set included "Where the Green Grass Grows," "Refried Dreams," "Everywhere," "Just to See You Smile," "For a Little While," "Down on the Farm," "Some Things Never Change," "All I Want Is a Life," "Space Cowboy," "Don't Take the Girl" and, a song no McGraw concert could be without, "I Like It, I Love It!"

At about 11 p.m., right after McGraw sang his final solo, a video of the Hill/McGraw children played on two overhead screens and Hill returned to the stage for the encore numbers — "It's Your Love," "Let Me Love You," "Angry All The Time," "Let's Make Love" and the grand finale, "Go Your Own Way."

At the end of the night, when the singers had kissed and the musicians had thrown mementos into the sea of people that made up the audience, everyone started to leave feeling the same way:

" . . . I like it, I love it, I want some more of it!"

E-mail: lu@desnews.com