(Photo by: Eric Allen)
I was completely blown away (pun intended) by Carrie Underwood’s most recent appearance at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena. Not only was her Blown Away Tour amid the best country concerts I’ve ever seen, but the country music sweetheart’s extraordinary gig was without a doubt the best vocal performance this eager music enthusiast has ever had the pleasure of hearing in my many years of attending live shows.
The show began with a video displaying a house swept up and swirling into the air and concluding with a replica on stage, which provided a red doorway Underwood used to make her grand entrance. Dressed to the hilt in a sparkling, flowing blue and black gown (analogous to the one which adorns the diva’s most recent platinum album), Underwood emerged with a radiant smile as she waved to admiring fans and tore into her recent number one single “Good Girl.” The evening’s nearly 2-hour concert was jammed pack with greatest hits from the Grand Ole Opry member’s entire catalog, along with a healthy dose of tracks from her latest album, Blown Away, as well as a surprisingly rocking cover version of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion.”
The set list was loaded with enough hits to satisfy casual fans and die-hards alike, which laudably demonstrated Underwood’s diversified catalog and growth as both an artist and songwriter. The multiple Grammy-winning vocalist’s musical arsenal tackled some hard hitting subject matter including: cheating, abuse, murder, and of course, love during the evening, all of which had the enthusiastic crowd singing along.
Halfway through the set, a portion of the stage was converted into a makeshift hot air balloon, which rotated as it hurled Underwood and her band mates through the air and over the crowd, giving everyone in the venue a bird’s eye view of the country superstar as she belted out several numbers. Underwood was later joined on stage by a surprise guest appearance from country crooner and resident comedian Brad Paisley for a version of the duo’s hit duet “Remind Me,” which caused Underwood to tear up with emotion.
Throughout the performance, various rural images (akin to Underwood’s own hometown of Checotah, Oklahoma) filled the stage’s multi-angled screens, augmenting each number with a three dimensional effect, yet never overshadowing the music or Underwood’s dominant, pitch-perfect vocals. The evening’s encore was a gut-wrenching performance of latest hit single and album title track “Blown Away” (complete with video footage of a house being destroyed by a twister as smoke and debris blew across the stage, a la a virtual tornado), after which Underwood exited into what looked like a storm shelter, then the sexy siren disappeared from view.
Way to go Carrie, as you undoubtedly made an unforgettable impact on a legion of lifetime fans (including this one) in Music City.
© 2012 Popmartzoo