1983 London Concerts!!
Friend to the site Mike Creed provided us with a review of the best known Dolly concerts over a three day period at Easter, in London, 1983:
Dolly In London -27th, 28th & 29th March 1983-Dominion Theatre,
Tottenham Court Road. London.
It really doesn’t seem like 28 years ago that England saw the magical delights of a full Dolly Parton
show. Of course Dolly had appeared in the UK as early as 1975 at the famous Wembley Country
Music Festival. Since then she had made a couple of concert tours but nothing could have prepared
the UK for the spectacle & highly publicised 3 day event at the Dominion in 1983.
Dolly had arrived at Heathrow airport with the UK press milling around her. She appeared on the
highly popular Terry Wogan show on the Friday night (bringing many of the “Dollyisms” that have
helped make her famous: e.g. ”I can tell you where to put it if I don’t like where you’ve got it!”)
encouraging all fans to go down to Tottenham Court Road to see her, as the show was being filmed.
No-one anticipated that by doing so she would bring central London to a stand-still. My family and
I arrived a couple of hours early so we could get something to eat. When we had eaten we couldn’t
understand why we couldn’t get back across the road to the theatre. Finally we realised that all the
fans and half of London had turned up to wait for Dolly’s arrival, blocking the streets as they did so.
The police were urging people to keep to the path. However within minutes the mayor of London
and his entourage arrived at the entrance & then the double-decker bus carrying Dolly to the show.
The crowd became ecstatic, calling Dolly’s name as she walked through them to the theatre doors
accompanied by members of her team.
Finally, we were all allowed into the Dominion to take our seats. Five rows from the front we had a
great view of the stage. Suddenly the curtains opened to show a huge orchestra alongside Dolly’s
band. The music started up with the familiar sounds of “Baby I’m Burnin’”. The whole audience
stood as Dolly entered un-characteristically from the back of the theatre, to walk through them to
the stage. A couple of fans grabbed her arm & tried to kiss her but within seconds she was on the
stage & rousing the audience with her opening number. The hit songs & many others soon followed.
The video to the show was released a year later on RCA Columbia Pictures RVT 10230 and when the
concert was aired on British television, viewing figures of 8 million set a record for BBC 2. The video
itself became a best-seller in the UK & spurned a re-release several years later (RVT 20230). A minor
error occurred on the reverse of the video, in that it stated the concert took place on 21st May.
However the correct dates are as stated above.
With the passing of time I haven’t forgotten that special night and from what I can remember Dolly
was promoting her new album “Burlap & Satin” and sang her new single “Potential New Boyfriend”,
that did not appear on the final video. The single though got a lot of airplay on BBC Radio 1.
The full video running order:
Dolly’s arrival in London, Baby I’m Burnin’, Jolene, Two Doors Down, Coat of Many Colours,
Appalachian Memories, Applejack, Do I Ever Cross Your Mind, Gospel Medley (Brother Love’s
Travelling Salvation Show, I’ll Fly Away, When the Saints Go Marching In, Old Time Religion). Band
Medley (Duelling Banjos, Orange Blossom Special). Rhumba Girl, All Shook Up, Me & Little Andy,
Down From Dover, Here You Come Again, 9 to 5, Great Balls Of Fire, I Will Always Love You.