For many country music fans who had their patience severely tested by unexplained delays, the Laurel Music Festival Saturday night will be remembered more for its duration than for performances by Sylvia, B.J. Thomas, Tammy Wynette and Glen Campbell.
"We just closed in Reno on Wednesday and I thought that was a late show. This is a late show," said Campbell, who reached the stage at 1 a.m. Sunday, five hours after the show opened with rather routine sets by Sylvia and Thomas.
The sparse crowd spent much of the evening quietly listening to pre-recorded music, but it grew restless when, for "technical" reasons, the Wynette show was delayed time and time again. Once on stage, though, Wynette had her way with the crowd. Her show, like those that preceded it, was packaged and predictable, but that didn't prevent her tear-stained voice, and that emotional catch in her phrasing, from turning heartaches by the number into classic country tales.
Given the late hour, it was all Campbell could do to keep the crowd from heading home. He didn't succeed entirely, but his show was a pleasant if uneventful journey to those places that inspired many of his hit recordings--Phoenix, Galveston and Wichita, among them.