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Last Updated: Friday, 2 May, 2003, 10:39 GMT 11:39 UK
Dixie Chicks return to US
Dixie Chicks protester
The anti-Bush comments brought protesters to the concert

Country band the Dixie Chicks have played their first show in the US after their controversial comments about President George W Bush in March.

The band received a rapturous welcome at their show at the Bi-Lo Centre in Greenville, South Carolina, on Thursday night.

Before their set, lead singer Natalie Maines invited people to boo for 15 seconds before they started the show, but instead the country trio was greeted with cheers and applause.

The group received death threats and had their songs taken off US radio playlists after Maines said she was ashamed President Bush came from her home state of Texas during a Dixie Chicks show in London in March.

"They said you might not come, but we knew you would," Maines told the crowd.

Maines mentioned Bush just once during the show, saying "they just told me that the president has announced that the war is over".

The 15,000-capacity concert had sold out before Maines made the comments in London.

Dixie Chicks
The Dixie Chicks are one of the biggest country acts in the world

But more than 3,300 people took part in an anti-Dixie Chicks concert that took place at the nearby town of Spartanburg. One radio DJ urged people to swap their tickets for the anti-Dixie Chicks show.

The concert as organised by nationally-syndicated radio talk show host Mike Gallagher, and headlined by the Marshall Tucker Band.

The concert was opened by an acapella rendition of the Star Spangled Banner and God Bless America.

Soldier tribute

The concert raised over $120,000 (75,000) for the charity Feed The Children, which will distribute money to military families.

The concert also paid tribute to the family of a South Carolina soldier, Ryan Hutchings, who died in Iraq.

Other protesters gathered outside the Dixie Chicks' show.

Dixie Chicks supporter
Some supporters also made their opinions known

Some held placards saying "the three French hens" and "nothing Dixie about these Chicks".

Metal detectors were used to prevent weapons being taken in to the show.

The Dixie Chicks have become one of the most popular country acts in the US in recent years, winning several times at the Country Music Awards.

Naked cover

The group's hits include Wide Open Spaces, Ready to Run and Landslide.

Despite CD burnings and bans from radio playlists, the band have refused to apologise for their comments.

They appeared naked on the cover of celebrity magazine Entertainment Weekly, covered in slogans used by their detractors and supporters since the anti-Bush outburst.

Bruce Springsteen has been one of their most vocal allies, saying the band were using their "right to free speech".

Springsteen backs under-fire Dixies
28 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Dixie Chicks 'get death threats'
24 Apr 03  |  Entertainment
Dixies dropped over Bush remark
20 Mar 03  |  Entertainment
Dixie Chicks anger US fans
14 Mar 03  |  Entertainment

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