From Omaha World-Herald...
For about two hours Sunday night, Carrie Underwood wowed the Qwest Center Omaha crowd with her voice, her good looks and some fancy stage theatrics.
With a six-piece band behind her, Underwood sported no fewer than five costumes during her 21-song set.
Donning a tuxedo, a denim top/frilly dress combo and a few dresses, Underwood’s frequent changes involved her descending into or rising out of the center of the stage.
She even rose out above the crowd in a classic blue pickup truck to sing John Denver’s “Take Me Home Country Roads.”
The two-time Academy of Country Music’s entertainer of the year showed why she has earned the honor. Her vocal power and range are so impressive that even the songs you don’t know keep you entertained.
A good-size crowd filled the arena to hear songs such as “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Before He Cheats” and others. And the audience went wild for her, especially when she used tricks like the flying truck.
Opener Billy Currington put on a strong but short set. The curly-haired country crooner’s set included “People Are Crazy,” “Good Directions,” “That’s How Country Boys Roll” and “Pretty Good at Drinkin’ Beer.”
The other opening group, Sons of Sylvia, joined Underwood onstage for “What Can I Say?” The trio’s singer did an admirable job in the duet with Underwood, but the group looked sort of out of place. Its members looked more like the cast of a “Twilight” movie than a country band.
“Good evening, Omaha. How ya doin’ tonight?” Underwood said. “You ready to have a good time tonight? Tonight’s seriously all about you having a good time. We’re so glad to be here tonight. Thanks for having us.”
It’s no wonder that Underwood has become the most successful “American Idol” winner. Her voice and onstage girl-next-door persona force you to enjoy her show.
The fans went wild for both. Her vocal acrobatics during songs such as “I Know You Won’t” and “Someday When I Stop Loving You” got folks to go nuts.
Plus they were plain charmed by her presence. During a lull between songs, one man yelled out, “I love you!” and another fan brought roses and handed them to Underwood.
The arrangement of the songs in the set did lead to some less-than-exciting stretches. Too many slow songs were strung together without anything louder or up-tempo thrown in to jazz it up. The second half of the show became slightly monotonous until the crowd was awakened with the raucous “Last Name.”
And the show — with its many moving set pieces and costume changes — felt a bit scripted, probably the same set list you’d see in any other town. But Underwood fended that off by going off on tangents when she was supposed to be introducing the next song.
Another cool moment was when Underwood sang “I Told You So” with Randy Travis via a prerecorded video. Those types of simulated duets rarely work, but the stage was realistically styled after the Grand Ole Opry, and the pair’s voices intertwined seamlessly.
Underwood has grown from a college senior who tried out for a TV talent show — as she told it — to a gifted singer and performer who’s on top of country music. In only five years.
Can’t wait to see what happens in the next five.