Carrie Underwood Lights Up the Hollywood Bowl
Since winning 'American Idol' in 2005, Carrie Underwood has made a friend or two in the music industry. Saturday night, October 2, several of those compadres, including Randy Travis and guitarist Orianthi, joined the Oklahoma native on stage at her first-ever Hollywood Bowl performance in Los Angeles.
The night began with Carrie's close friends and Play On tourmates, Sons of Sylvia. Frontman Ashley Clark was the first to pay homage to the venue's history. "I can live the rest of my life now saying that I played the Hollywood Bowl," he told the crowd. "It's an honor." The group's set featured 'Give Me Love,' which Ashley dedicated to all the single people in the audience. "If it's depressing, I'm sorry," he said with a laugh.
Next up was Billy Currington, who played a slew of his hits including 'That's How Country Boys Roll,' 'People Are Crazy,' 'I Got a Feelin'' and 'Pretty Good at Drinkin' Beer.' The crowd sang back every line to 'Must Be Doin' Something Right' and 'Good Directions,' which led him to confess, "I love pretty little California women."
"What an honor to be on this stage," she said. "Excuse me if I get emotional." Her dedicated fans sang back the lyrics to 'Wasted,' before she launched into 'I Know You Won't,' and then picked up her black electric guitar for 'Some Hearts.'
"In February 2005, everything started for me here," Carrie recalled. "I never thought I'd be able to write music. As a writer of this song, 'Temporary Home,' it's very important to me."
"I've gotten my hands on some great songs and I'm very fortunate to have gotten a really great one early in my career," she declared before singing her first single, 'Jesus Take The Wheel,' which led right into her powerful rendition of the classic 'How Great Thou Art.' Carrie was so overwhelmed by the crowd's response that she had to take a moment to compose herself. With tears in her eyes, she thanked her fans.
She was soon joined by the Sons of Sylvia for 'What Can I Say,' before a quick PSA. "When I first heard 'Change,' I thought, 'We can do a lot of good,'" she informed the audience. "Thirty-six cents from your ticket have been donated to Save the Children."
"One of the things I miss the most when we go on tour is the 'Grand Ole Opry,'" Carrie explained as the backdrop behind her turned into that of the historic radio show. The switch didn't distract fans enough to miss Randy Travis walking on stage; to say that they went wild would be an understatement. Together the duo performed 'I Told You So,' which Randy took to No. 1 in 1988 and Carrie returned it to the top spot in 2009 after covering it on her 'Carnival Ride' album.
When the excitement died down a bit, Carrie sat at the piano for 'Mama's Song,' while pictures from her childhood to her wedding day flashed in chronological order on a screen.
Guitarist Orianthi, who shared the stage with Carrie at the Grammy Awards two years ago, joined her for 'Before He Cheats.' Halfway through the song, a spectacular fireworks display that turned the night to day began atop the bandshell. Fans sang back every word, and failed to care that the fireworks seemed to overcome Carrie during her last song, 'Songs Like This.'
Carrie, Billy and the Sons of Sylvia continue on the 'Play On Tour' to Houston, Texas October 6. A full list of tour dates may be found here.