Carrie Underwood delivered a raucous, sold-out show at KeyArena Thursday, Sept. 8, that reaffirmed her status as one of country music’s biggest female stars.
Carrie Underwood reaffirmed her status as one of country music’s biggest female stars with a raucous, sold-out show at KeyArena Thursday (Sept. 8) that managed to surprise even as it rewarded longtime fans with a parade of hits.
Breaking from the normal stage setup, Underwood’s “Storyteller” tour featured a large, circular stage in the center of the arena connected to two smaller satellite stages, with three enormous rings of LCD screens hanging above. It was a refreshingly different setup that brought to mind spinning LPs and made Underwood feel closer to most fans.
Underwood eased into things with a new song, “Renegade Runaway,” then unleashed a fiery medley of No. 1 singles “Last Name” and “Something Bad” that set the tone for the rest of the show. Her career-making single “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” haunting tale of abuse “Blown Away” and the menacing revenge fantasy “Two Black Cadillacs” showcased her ability to hit notes with laser accuracy and hurricane force.
But it was a tribute to Dolly Parton that hushed the crowd into reverent silence: Starting a cappella, Underwood nailed a moving, technically perfect rendition of “I Will Always Love You.”
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The show could have stopped there and most fans would have gone home happy, but Underwood had plenty left in the tank. She reminded fans that she can escape her comfort zone of jilted love with “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted,” which focused on her relationship with newborn son Isaiah.
Only “Mountain Music,” an Alabama cover featuring opening acts The Swon Brothers and Easton Corbin, felt uninspired, most likely because it’s a song that can’t help but feel a little like karaoke. Underwood quickly shifted gears, putting the spotlight on fans with a handheld video camera during “All-American Girl,” which was cloyingly sweet compared to most of Underwood’s more emotionally complex songs.
After bowing out with “Before He Cheats,” Underwood came back for a couple more songs, including her most recent hit, “Smoke Break.”
It was a satisfying end to a show that served as a reminder that it’s not just your stories but the way you tell them that matters.