Dixie Chicks Tour Skips Beats

NEW YORK - MAY 08: Emily Robison, Natalie Maines and Martie Maguire of the Dixie Chicks attend the celebration for Time Magazine's 100 Most Infuential People issue at Jazz at Lincoln Center May 8, 2006 in New York City. (Photo by Brad Barket/Getty Images) GETTY IMAGES/Brad Barket

Several concerts on the Dixie Chicks' "Accidents & Accusations" tour have been canceled after slow ticket sales, but the group says it has replaced them with other dates.

Kansas City, Houston, St. Louis, Memphis and Knoxville are among 14 cities no longer on the original schedule released in May, according to a revised itinerary posted Thursday on the Dixie Chick's Web site.

Other shows, including Nashville, Los Angeles, Denver and Phoenix, have been pushed back to later dates.

The North American leg of the tour kicked off July 21 in Detroit. Billboard magazine and other trade publications have reported lackluster sales in some markets, particularly in the South and Midwest.

Group spokeswoman Kathy Allmand said Monday that the total number of North American dates remains the same, with several Canadian cities added in place of the U.S. shows.

The trio released a statement last week attributing the changes to attempts to "accommodate demand" and said more dates might be added next year.

The group also said the adjustments will allow them to promote the documentary "Dixie Chicks: Shut Up and Sing," for the Toronto International Film Festival in September.

"We hope that our fans who were looking forward to a stop that is no longer on the tour will be able to join us at a nearby arena this fall, and we are sorry for any confusion or inconvenience these changes have caused," the Dixie Chicks said.

Many country fans criticized the band after lead singer Natalie Maines told a London audience in 2003 on the eve of war in Iraq that the trio was "ashamed" President Bush was from their home state of Texas.

County radio stations dropped them from their playlists and have been slow to welcome them back, despite strong sales of their latest album, "Taking the Long Way."

The album, which has more of a rock edge than their previous releases, spent several weeks at the top of the country albums chart and has sold more than 1 million copies.

The Chicks performed for an enthusiastic, full crowd at New York's Madison Square Garden on Aug. 1.

Maines, always quick to rattle off a cheeky line, dedicated their song "White Trash Wedding" to Mel Gibson. "All of our controversies probably would have gone away if I had checked into rehab the next day," she joked.

The fans cheered wildly for the Chicks, especially for their new single "Not Ready to Make Nice," a song about 2003's controversy.

Maines introduced their hit "Long Way Around" by saying: "This song is about how we live our lives and make those excellent career decisions."
  • Amy Bonawitz

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