Carrie Underwood Leaves Nashville Blown Away
Carrie Underwood's Blown Away tour touched down in Nashville last night (Sept. 23) at Bridgestone Arena, leaving fans and music industry pals thoroughly awed by the perfect storm of visuals, special effects and, of course, Carrie's amazing vocals. From the show opener, "Good Girl," to her stunning encore of "Blown Away," the Oklahoma native's voice was a consistently powerful, emotionally riveting instrument.
The tour boasts a lot of cool bells and whistles in terms of production, but the songstress' vocal gift is never lost amongst the videos and effects. A lesser artist might seem overwhelmed by the things swirling around her (sometimes things literally swirling around), but Carrie's talent is bigger than the giant video screens and state-of-the-art production. Her voice is the anchor that gives the evening its considerable emotional punch.
She followed "Good Girl" with "Undo It" and had the audience on its feet cheering and singing along. Next up was a stirring performance of "Wasted," a chart-topping hit from her 2005 debut album Some Hearts. Looking stunning in a dark blue dress with an asymmetrical hem and lots of bling on the bodice, CMA Entertainer of the Year nominee welcomed the crowd to the venue, and noted that she spent a lot of time there. Her husband, Mike Fisher, plays for Nashville's hockey team, the Predators. On the way into the arena that evening, she jested with her husband about Bridgestone being where their two worlds met, leading Mike to say, "You're on my turf now," however, she reminded he that she was "here first."
Next up, Carrie shared a song that has long been one of her favorites, as she launched into a gorgeous rendition of "I Told You So," originally a hit for Randy Travis. Switching gears, she then served up "Two Black Cadillacs," one of the many highlights on the Blown Away album. Before her next number, she told the crowd, "I love this song! I hope you guys open your hearts to it and love it as much as I do." She then delivered a compelling performance of "Temporary Home," which hardly left a dry eye in the house.
During the evening, Carrie delighted the audience with such hits as "Last Name," "All-American Girl," "Jesus, Take the Wheel," "Cowboy Casanova" and "Before He Cheats," along with liberal doses of the new album, including the Caribbean-flavored "One Way Ticket," "Nobody Ever Told You," "Do You Think About Me," "Cupid's Got a Shotgun" and "Thank God for Hometowns." She even threw in an absolutely rockin' cover of Aerosmith's "Sweet Emotion."
In an evening that held lots of cool surprises for her fans, Carrie herself got a big surprise when Brad Paisley joined her on stage to sing their hit duet "Remind Me." (Brad usually sings with Carrie via video.) The "Southern Comfort Zone" singer had performed in Las Vegas the night before at the iHeartRadio event and hurried back to Nashville to surprise his friend. The songstress was so stunned she got teary-eyed and hugged him so enthusiastically that she knocked his hat off his head. She regained her composure and the duo delivered an incredible performance as the crowd screamed and cheered.
One of the highlights of the night came when a section of the stage, circled by a cool-looking fence, rose above the audience. Carrie and three band members floated above the crowd and toward the back of the arena on her own oversized hot air balloon as she waved to excited fans and performed several numbers. Before singing "One Way Ticket," she asked the crowd if they were ready for a vacation and tossed out a few festive necklaces while four large beach balls appeared and began circulating through the crowd. Clad in cut off blue jean shorts, boots and her husband's Predators jersey, Carrie looked adorable and genuinely enjoyed getting closer to the fans via the mobile stage.
Of course, when going to a Carrie Underwood show, fans expect to see some amazing fashion and they weren't disappointed. She had five costume changes during the show, among them a pair of shiny, skinny blue pants with a sleeveless, heavily embellished top. The final outfit was a stunning gown that swirled around her during "Blown Away," as a tornado raged on stage with debris flying everywhere.
In interviews before the tour kicked off, Carrie hinted that she and opening act Hunter Hayes would likely perform together and they did. Hunter returned to the stage to duet with Carrie on the sassy new tune "Leave Love Alone" from the Blown Away album. The two sounded great together and looked like they were having a blast. Prior to Carrie taking the stage, Hunter had performed an impressive opening set that showcased his musicianship, stellar vocals and excellent rapport with the audience. Executives from Hunter's record label came on stage and presented him with a platinum plaque for his No. 1 single "Wanted." Hunter reciprocated by giving the staff a plaque to thank them for their hard work on his behalf.
The packed audience included some celebrity friends, among them Vince Gill, Kix Brooks, Little Big Town's Phillip Sweet, David Cook and Lauren Alaina. Though Carrie has mentioned she gets nervous playing for a hometown crowd in Nashville, there was no evidence of nerves. She delivered a flawless performance song after song after song, but beyond the brilliance of her vocal gift, one of the most appealing things about seeing Carrie live is just the sheer joy she exudes when connecting with her audience. It's obvious she is loving every minute of it and that feeling is contagious. It's easy to get swept away and no doubt many will as the Blown Away tour storms along.