Sound off like you’ve got a pair!

Sometimes a chick just needs to show some balls.

As, for instance, when a short fat chick has an opportunity to see a Dixie Chicks show, but the only available transportation option is riding pillion behind a lean, leather-clad guy on a BMW 1150. Considering that the last time I got on a motorcycle was more than 20 years and 50 pounds ago, it was a bit intimidating.

But I really wanted to see the Dixie Chicks. So there I was, carefully rolled onto the back of my friend’s bike and clinging to him like one of those big-eyed baby monkeys, as we headed for Arco Arena last Tuesday night.

And sometimes, when a chick shows some balls, it really pays off.

As, for instance, in the way Natalie Maines, Martie Maguire and Emily Robison have turned a sow’s ear into a silk purse—and filled it with coin. Three years ago, it looked like their careers were headed for the slaughterhouse after Maines remarked during a London concert that they were ashamed President Bush was from Texas. The backlash cost the band dearly in corporate country-radio airplay and red-state concert dates—though maybe it helped their CD sales, as angry war supporters bought those discs and burned ’em.

But now, instead of banishment to the hinterlands of has-been, the Chicks have another platinum record. True, they’ve also almost completely switched-out their fan base from red states to blue states. The Arco crowd didn’t contain many of the 30-some percent of Americans who still approve of Bush, judging from the jeers for his brief appearance in the trailer for Shut Up & Sing, a new Dixie Chicks documentary.

As the lights went down, the Rolling Stones’ “Bitch” gave way to the more martial strains of “Hail to the Chief,” and the Chicks took the stage, dressed in black and sporting the spiked, leg-lengthening heels this short fat chick envies. They launched into “Lubbock or Leave It,” a hard-rocking, bitchy, barely country talk-back to closed-mindedness.

No political comments were necessary, although Maines did tell the crowd, “I’m a people-pleaser, and I’ll be happy to shut up and sing if I could only figure out how to do both.”

For better than two hours, the Chicks played pure Americana—fusing bluegrass with the blues, then serving it up with a heaping portion of country-fried rock ’n’ roll. After they finally left the stage, Elton John’s “The Bitch is Back” carried the crowd out—and who could miss the point?

Once again, the Dixie Chicks set the right example for America’s public discourse: Take your stand, stick to it, take the flak and go about your business. Importantly, though, when you’re proven right, don’t gloat. Just keep singing. It’s a lesson we can only hope the Democrats have learned.

Maybe now they can show some balls, just like the Chicks.