Carrie Underwood is seven years removed from her triumphant “American Idol” victory but 16 hits later, multiple concert tours and enough awards to fill a mansion, she is still classy enough to credit the show for her presence on the Gwinnett Arena stage last night.
She is so sweet and likable, that she could probably sit on a stool and sing a capella and the crowd would love her. But she had a full-blown band, of course, and a full-blown stage set up, including a mid-concert liftoff on a faux balloon ride with her band to the center of the arena (sans the lonely drummer). There was confetti, dry ice, massive odd-angled high-def screens and Carrie’s incredible voice. Even though she was clearly suffering from a cold, that couldn’t stop her from gunning through 21 songs. The huskiness in her voice at times gave the songs some surprising heft, too.
And she has so many hits under her belt, she was able to skip a few, including “Mama’s Song,” “So Small” and “All American Girl,” to no ill effect. She designed the show to ebb and flow without ever losing the crowd.
She opened the show with two big, brawny No. 1 hits “Good Girl” and “Undo It,” then dialed it back with two of her best ballads”Wasted” and “I Told You So.” She then mixed it up with her new single “Two Black Cadillacs” followed by a hit parade of “Last Name,” “Temporary Home,” “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” and “Cowboy Casanova.”
While floating above the stage, she snuck in a few non hits, including “Get Out Of This Town,” “Crazy Dreams” and the Jimmy Buffett-esque “One Way Ticket” replete with four big beach balloons thrown into the crowd. She did a duet with a video version of Brad Paisley for “Remind Me,” similar to how she did “I Told You So” with a video Randy Travis in 2010. Then she did a real duet with her opening act Hunter Hayes.
She ended her pre-encore set with her biggest cross-over hit “Before He Cheats,” which she is fated to sing the rest of her career – or at least get the entire audience to sing for her.
Though her life appears calm and fruitful, she used the “Blown Away” analogy in her encore of her recent No. 1 song “Blown Away” with tornado imagery and both confetti and a burst of geyser-like air behind her to close the show with a bang.
The set was slightly shorter than some other concerts she’s done, probably to save her voice a bit. So there was no cover of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” something she has done quite a bit on the tour so far.
Here’s a photographic summary of the show and her five outfit changes. Enjoy!
Here is Carrie singing one of my favorite Carrie songs: “I Told You So.”
I may have missed a song but here’s the set list from last night. Interestingly, only seven repeats from the 2010 concert:
I Told You So
Two Black Cadillacs
Jesus Take the Wheel
Get Out Of This Town
Nobody Ever Told You
Thank God For Hometowns
One Way Ticket
Leave Love Alone
Cupid’s Got a Shotgun
Before He Cheats