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POP MUSIC REVIEWS : Tritt's Whoosh of Energy Outstrips High-Tech Show

August 02, 1994|NOEL DAVIS

ANAHEIM — Travis Tritt appeared determined to revisit the arena-rock overkill of the '70s at the Pond here on Sunday. Introduced by a whoosh of synthesizers, a laser eagle and theatrical fog, the rock-edged country singer roared onto the stage on a Harley and immediately launched into full-bore versions of his hit "Put Some Drive in Your Country" and the new "Wishful Thinking."

Swinging his hips, doing jumping jacks and a modified duck walk, Tritt bounded back and forth across the stage like Bruce Springsteen, Steven Tyler and Bono all rolled into one. If Tritt was going to unleash so much dynamite during the first two songs, what would be left for the rest of his set?

Plenty, as it turned out. Tritt not only played the expected energetic versions of several hits, but also offered personalized versions of songs made famous by other artists, including Steve Earle and Charlie Daniels. He also paid tribute to three of country's legends by delivering spine-tingling readings of Johnny Cash's "I Walk the Line," Merle Haggard's "Mama Tried" and George Jones' "If Drinkin' Don't Kill Me (Her Memory Will)."

Tritt's performance was so dynamic that all the high-tech trappings--including flashing lasers, a futuristic drum riser, glowing initials and a liberal use of video--seemed almost superfluous. Tritt's music and charisma were so strong that he could have delivered the same set on a bare stage and little would have been lost.

* Travis Tritt, Joe Diffie and Lee Roy Parnell appear Thursday at Glen Helen Blockbuster Pavilion, 2555 Devore Road, Devore, 7:30 p.m. $12.50-$22.50. (909) 886-8742.

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