SHE MAY be all of five foot but, as icons go, they don't come much bigger than Dolly Parton. I know it, the pink-stetson-toting audience at the BIC knows it, and so do all those poor people who didn't manage to land a ticket for this one-off performance by a living legend.

I mean; Dolly! In Dorset! It's like waking up to find that someone's re-built the Statue of Liberty on the West Cliff.

We know the Queen of Country isn't going to disappoint us; it's more a case of how delighted are we going to be? Very? Very very? Or so amazed we can't believe we're actually seeing her in the flesh? And the rhinestones and sequins because Dolly does live a rhinestone and a sequin.

From the second she appears, fiddle in hand, singing part of Better Day from her new album of the same name, we realise we're in for something special.

When she powers into Baby I'm Burnin' we know just why this tiny woman has had such a grip on the charts and our hearts -- she is absolutely sensational.

Pausing to thank us all for coming and telling us how much she loves us -- cheesy from anyone else, entirely natural from Dolly -- she then grabs her guitar and belts out 'that song about a certain redheaded lady', of course; Jolene.

This Dolly standard brings us neatly to her bluegrass and she bounces out a string of hits, gathering round her band with their banjos, giving us Rocky Top, Stairway to Heaven and Help! by the Beatles.

She pauses again to talk to us about her childhood, the poverty, the love and her preacher grandfather, before treating us to a soulful rendition of My Tennessee Mountain Home and My Coat of Many Colours.

Then it's back to her Better Day album, the one she wrote to 'to kind of make people feel better about themselves and about life and just about things right now.' And we do.

She sings us the big hit from Better Day, Together You and I, before popping off for the interval and then she's back, shimmering in ruby sequins, giving us White Limozeen and The Sacrifice before admitting that many of her fans like the sadder songs.

Well, they don't come much sadder than Little Sparrow. And to hear it sung acapella was spine-tingling and the proof -- as if it was even needed -- that this woman still has one of the best singing voices on the planet.

By this time we're all ready for a sing-song and so is Dolly. Here You Come Again gets the audience on their feet and singing. Nine-to-Five gets us dancing. And Islands in the Stream gets us singing and dancing until we realise it's nearly the end. But not quite.

Dolly returns to give us what's become her greatest hit and certainly, as she cheerily acknowledges, her most bankable one: 'I Will Always Love You'.

She leaves the stage but her band do not, singing us out in true Southern style and they've been a joy, too.

Dolly once said: "My songs are the door to every dream I've ever had and every success I've ever achieved."

To hear them sung to us, by her, in our own backyard was something I will cherish forever. Looking round at the sheer delight on the faces of her audience, so will they.

If this isn't one of the greatest concerts ever performed at the BIC, I will eat my pink fluffy stetson.