With a brisk performance, county music star Lorrie Morgan proved to be full of surprises in a Friday, June 15 performance before an estimated crowd of 650 at Hempstead Hall.

With a brisk performance, county music star Lorrie Morgan proved to be full of surprises in a Friday, June 15 performance before an estimated crowd of 650 at Hempstead Hall.
From the cutting of her signature golden locks to a 90-minute show that was part-comedy routine, Morgan even had her son, Jesse Keith Whitley, on stage for his birthday, June 15, where she didn’t sing “Happy Birthday,” but rather an old Nursery song from when Whitley was a baby.  Morgan even cradled the young man’s head in her arms on the Hempstead Hall stage much to the crowd’s amusement.
Between the comedy bits about her age — she turns 59 on June 29 — her new hair cut, her travels, and her band — where she praised band leader and guitarist Todd Woodson for outlasting several of her marriages — there were plenty of her greatest hits that she performed with her familiar strong vocals that propelled her to the top of the country charts some 20 years ago.
Morgan opened with “Watch Me,” followed by “What Part of No,” “A Picture of Me Without You,” “Good As I Was To You,” “Back in Your Arms Again,” “Something About Trains,” “Slow,” “Except for Monday,” “We Both Walk,” and “Saunders Ferry.”
The biggest response of the night was another surprise as Morgan preformed a sterling extended version of Bobbie Gentry’s classic hit, “Ode To Billie Joe,” before closing with “Go Away,” “Something in Red,” and an acoustic sit-down version of “Are You Lonesome” as the encore.
UA-Hope Chancellor Chris Thomason, who saw Morgan in Hope back in 1992, was also in the crowd on Friday night.
“We enjoyed a great show in a Hempstead Hall’s very close knit venue; it was almost like you were on the stage with Lorrie Morgan at times the way she interacted with the crowd,” Thomason said.
“Her hits were from an era that I was a teenager, and it was enjoyable to take a trip down memory lane with my family right here in Hope,” he said.
Thomason also recalled selling her tour group some watermelons and loading on to her touring bus.
“I had the benefit of selling her some watermelons from at stand where the present-day Walgreens is now, and I got to load watermelons on her tour bus. That was a big deal for a kid from Hope back then,” Thomason said.
“She was just as nice and approachable and genuine during the show Friday as she was back in 1992. In that way, time did not seem to change her much at all,” he said.