By the Way

Oak Ridge Boys bring early Christmas to the Coast

The Oak Ridge Boys brought their Christmas show to the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.
The Oak Ridge Boys brought their Christmas show to the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi on Friday, Nov. 18, 2016.

Country Music Hall of Fame inductees the Oak Ridge Boys made their annual appearance on the Coast during a Friday night at show the Golden Nugget Casino in Biloxi.

And although the Oaks have performed here many times, Friday was the first time in 27 years that the band — Joe Bonsall, Duane Allen, William Lee Golden and Richard Sterban — have performed their Christmas show.

The Oaks brought their Christmas Celebration to the Golden Nugget in what was a show that the Coast will not soon forget.

The Christmas show is a mixture of a few hits — and the Oaks have many — and a selection of both sacred and secular Christmas songs. And yes, they play “Elvira.”

“Elvira” was such an iconic, huge song of my childhood. It, along with “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” “Looking’ for Love,” “On the Road Again,” “The Gambler,” “9 to 5” and “Theme From the Dukes of Hazzard,” was an anthem of my childhood.

But what has always sold me on the Oaks is “Y’all Come Back Saloon,” which was the opening number for Friday’s show. The song is always a highlight, for me, of any Oaks concert.

There’s something also very special about hearing Golden sing “Thank God for Kids.” It’s as iconic as it gets.

I did temporarily feel a bit sad when I first saw Golden hit the stage. With his long white hair, flowing white beard and cowboy hat, I couldn’t help but be reminded of seeing a similar image on the stage at the Golden Nugget in the Spring. It was the last time I would ever see the great Leon Russell.

After a handful of their numerous hits, the Oaks played a rousing version of the Christmas classic “Christmas Time’s a Comin.’” While the Oaks still sound amazing as a quartet, the Mighty Oaks Band is something you don't want to miss. Pedal steel player Rex Wiseman alone is worth the ticket price.

Their Christmas show was the perfect way to get an early start on the Christmas season. There was snow and Santa Claus and laughter and tears — both from the Oaks as they reminisced about their families and from me when Golden sang “Thank God For Kids.” It was my first time to hear it as a parent.

There’s some talk that the Oaks may be recording their last album next year. And with friends like Kenny Rogers and Ronnie Milsap winding down their touring careers, who knows what is in store for the Oaks. But with shows booked well into the fall of 2017, the Oaks don’t seem to being showing any signs of slowing down. And that’s something for which we can all be grateful.

Oak Ridge Boys Christmas Playlist