Carrie Underwood Official News
Tuesday, July 6, 2010
Underwood's voice shines, as does her personality
It's hard to believe that five years ago Carrie Underwood was just a college student from Checotah, Okla.
As she introduced her 2005 debut country single, "Jesus Take The Wheel," midway through her 95-minute set at the Marcus Amphitheater Sunday night, its release seemed like a lifetime ago. For many country stars, the success the former American Idol has achieved - three platinum albums, a dozen top-10 country hits and shelves full of awards - in such a short time would fill a life's career and then some.
In concert, Underwood offered the polished, comfortable persona of a bona fide star and a constant flow of vocal highlights. In fact, the high spots came so often and effortlessly - a rich, flowing vibrato on "I Know You Won't," the soaring final refrain of "Some Hearts" - that it was actually possible to not notice just how remarkable her vocal talents are.
Performing a hit-filled set with an eight-piece band, Underwood strummed an acoustic guitar on the upbeat "All-American Girl" and joined a video board version of Randy Travis for a virtual duet of "I Told You So."
On the other side of the down-home country pop and heartfelt ballads, Underwood also showed her gritty, sassier side on the done-me-wrong "This Time" and the encore revenge-filled "Before He Cheats."
While she has the voice of a true country diva, Underwood also displayed an engaging, unguarded charm. Noting the evening's heat, she told the crowd that she was breaking her usual habit of not sweating, but was happy to have the chance to change clothes every few songs from an opening long-tailed tuxedo to a flowing pink dress and a closing sparkly silver outfit.
Recalling the first time she met Garth Brooks, as a 10-year-old, she described the soft sponge rollers she slept in the night before to prepare. As an image of Underwood and fiancé Mike Fisher filled the stage's large video screens at the end of "Mama's Song" - they reportedly will be married next Saturday - she sighed and said, "Aww, how cute."
The easiest way to create the sound of opening act Sons of Sylvia would be crossing an emo rock band with a group of bluegrass pickers. The trio of Virginia brothers opened its 40-minute set with a cover of Rolling Stones' "Gimme Shelter." Later, Ashley Clark's brooding alternative rock lyrics on "John Wayne" were juxtaposed with an intense, traditional bluegrass jam on fiddle, mandolin and dobro. Austin Clark raised the crowd to its feet with a blistering electrified take on "The Star Spangled Banner" on a black Flying V steel guitar.