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Alabama is a hit with S.L. audience

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Alabama's Jeff Cook, left, Randy Owen, Mark Herndon and Teddy Gentry rocked the Delta Center Friday.

Alabama’s Jeff Cook, left, Randy Owen, Mark Herndon and Teddy Gentry rocked the Delta Center Friday.

Peter Nash, RCA Records

ALABAMA, Delta Center, Friday.

When Alabama's American Farewell Tour 2003 rolled into the Delta Center Friday night, it was a romp-stomping affair. The popular country band, which has topped the charts more than 40 times in the past 25 years and won practically every award known to country music, has decided to quit touring and is making its way "from sea to shining sea" one more time.

With no opening acts, it was all Alabama, all night long. For more than three hours, they sang song after song from their storied career. Songs like "It All Goes South," "Can't Keep A Good Man Down," "Love in the First Degree" and "Tennessee River" that had the audience on their feet clapping and cheering and waving their arms most of the night. Songs such as "Song of the South," "Mountain Music," "Down Home," and "Dixieland Delight" that the fans knew as well as the band.

Alabama paid homage to Johnny Cash, who had passed away that day, with a rousing "Folsom Prison Blues." They included a tribute to America ("Send It On Down the Line," "Angels Among Us" and "O Beautiful, For Spacious Skies"). They honored baseball ("Cheap Seats"), womanhood ("She Ain't Your Ordinary Girl," "Lady Down On Love") and sweet-potato pie ("Born Country"). They sang of better times ("High Cotton") and modern woes ("I'm In A Hurry," "Pass It On Down").

A video clip of Salt Lake scenery provided a nice opening, and frequent references to the state had fans cheering. A video segment tracing Alabama's career was also a lot of fun. But for the most part it was just the guys and the band, having a rousing good time.

The trademark harmony of Alabama — composed of Randy Owen, Teddy Gentry, Jeff Cook and Mark Herndon — was evident. They pull emotion from a tender love song with the best of them. But also there in large measure was their rousing rockabilly style, helped along by members of the band (with some amazing work on piano, saxophone, mandolin, harmonica and guitar).

It was loud. It was energetic. A love fest, pure and simple, it was a night filled with Southern style and Southern grace.

And it was not at all a bad way to say goodbye.

E-MAIL: carma@desnews.com