Review: Miranda Lambert Combines Sassy, Sentimental on Keeper of the Flame Tour
Country fans are well aware of two distinct pieces of Miranda Lambert‘s personality: She’s sweet and sentimental — some of her biggest hits will bring you to tears, to say nothing of her penchant for rescuing all sorts of animals — but she’s also a sassy-as-all-get-out bada–. You believe her when she sings, “They say I’ll be okay / But I’m not going to ever get over you” … but you also believe her when she sings, “If he wants a fight, well, now he’s got one / And he ain’t seen me crazy yet.” And on her Keeper of the Flame Tour, fans get plenty of both sides of the country superstar.
On Thursday night (June 23), Lambert opened her show in Darien Center, N.Y., with a montage of strong country women — Bonnie and Clyde and Dolly Parton among them — set to Beyonce‘s “Run the World (Girls).” It was a fitting kickoff, as the singer launched into a one-two-three punch of “Fastest Girl in Town,” “Baggage Claim” and “Kerosene.” A rockin’ cover of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” followed the more introspective “Heart Like Mine” and “Bathroom Sink,” giving Lambert the opportunity to, essentially, tell the crowd, “It’s okay; we’re all a little messed up,” then rock out and forget about it.
And let’s be clear: Lambert rocks out. Throughout her whole set, she was striding over to her band members to let loose with them; inviting backup singer Gwen Sebastian (who wins the award for “Most Fun-to-Watch Backup Singer Ever”) to center stage to goof around; and making funny faces and emoting along with the lyrics. The big screens onstage caught one particular look, during “Mama’s Broken Heart” — a super-serious, “This is not cool”-type face that slowly turned into a small, crafty smile. Perfect.
“I want to say thank you so much for spending your hard-earned money on some country music tonight … We appreciate you so much,” Lambert told the crowd before asking them to “think about who you are and where you come from and what you stand for and all the good about yourself” during “All Kinds of Kinds.” Shortly before, she let the audience finish out “Over You” for her, holding out the mic and looking on approvingly as they sang the last few lines of the song; once again, the cameras caught a special moment: Lambert mouthing “I love you guys” at the very end.
On tour, Lambert surrounds herself with talent, from her band to her opening acts, and she offered them all a chance to shine, too, during her show: As the night began to wind down, Lambert’s crew pulled three stools and mic stands to center stage, and she invited Sebastian and Lucie Silvas — likely at the show to hang out with her husband, John Osborne, who’s opening for Lambert — to “pretend that we’re Martie [Maguire] and Emily [Robison] and Natalie [Maines]” and collaborate with her on the Dixie Chicks‘ “Cowboy, Take Me Away.”
“I have a real cute boyfriend; his name is Anderson East …,” Lambert shared with the audience, explaining that she’d recently spent some time in nearby Toronto, Ontario, Canada, watching him open for the Chicks and adding, “and I was totally fangirling out.”
Rather than spend her two-song encore onstage alone, Lambert was joined by opening acts Brothers Osborne and Kip Moore for two covers: “Willin'” and “Me and Bobby McGee.” During their own sets, both Brothers Osborne and Moore offered up high-energy performances and, gauging by the screams as their sets progressed, earned themselves some new fans.
Lambert’s Keeper of the Flame Tour runs through mid-September. Future dates and details are available on her official website.
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