Carrie Underwood is clearly getting used to living in Nashville.
Although she presented a multi-media extravaganza at the Bridgestone Arena on Sunday night (Sept. 23), her laid-back personality
and sense of humor made it feel like she was just hanging out with her friends.
“You have no idea how much time I spend
in Bridgestone Arena,” Underwood casually remarked a few songs into her set. After all, her husband Mike Fisher is a star
in his own right with the Nashville Predators, the hockey team that plays in that same venue.
Fisher had told her earlier
in the day that she was on his turf now, but she replied, “Nuh-uh, I was here first.”
And that’s true. Underwood has
been on Nashville’s radar since 2005 after winning American Idol. A few months later, she impressed viewers of the
CMT special 100 Greatest Duets in this very same arena. Along with past headlining performances there, it’s also where
she co-hosts the CMA Awards with Brad Paisley.
Speaking of Paisley,
he somehow pulled off a neat hat trick — flying back from a Las Vegas show just in time to surprise Underwood on “Remind
Me.” After the show, I was told that only three people knew it was happening — essentially, just the sound team who could
get him amplified in time. Underwood obviously had no idea. Although she is always quite poised, she began weeping when she
saw Paisley approaching her onstage. She even missed a few lines of the song to catch her breath. But when she did get it
together, the duet elicited deafening screams from the audience.
Although Underwood happily shares the spotlight with
Fisher in her personal life and Paisley in her professional life, she’s undeniably a superstar in her own right. Country music
has rarely heard a finer singer. Because it’s so early in the tour, I’m reluctant to give too much away, but I can share that
Underwood does manage to get close to the middle of the crowd, that she’s not afraid to show off her shapely legs with numerous
costume changes and that she’s put a lot of thought into the storm imagery that ties the show together. She also does a terrific
job of spiking album cuts from her Blown Away album into the show without dragging it down.
Start to finish,
it will be tough for any country artist to top what Underwood is delivering on this tour.
New artist Hunter
Hayes proved a worthy opener, presumably drawing inspiration from Rascal
Flatts‘ music and Keith Urban’s showmanship. He closed his set with
“Storm Warning,” which worked well as a transition into Underwood’s
tornado-themed tour. However his biggest hit is “Wanted,” a No. 1 hit
at radio, and he accepted a platinum plaque from his record label in the middle of his energetic set. You can imagine his
life is a whirlwind right now, and for that reason, being on this tour is probably the perfect place for him.