Friday, April 29, 2016

Review: Carrie Underwood at Verizon

Posted By on Fri, Apr 29, 2016 at 3:11 PM

click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
This time around, always-popular country star Carrie Underwood — no stranger to Verizon Arena in North Little Rock — was surrounded.


The arena Thursday night was set up with an elongated stage in the middle of the floor so she could perform in the round with audience members on all sides. Here are a few takeaways from the Arkansas stop on her highly entertaining 2016 Storyteller Tour — Stories in the Round, which also featured Easton Corbin and the Swon Brothers.

Carrie-ing Through: Amid all the lasers and risers and spotlights and smoke and special effects, Underwood delivered one heckuva show. Her huge talent and powerhouse voice, along with the terrific lighting, great staging and flashy costumes (more on those in a minute), produced plenty of memorable moments and images for the appreciative (and at times thunderous) crowd of 10,049. There’s a reason the "American Idol" winner and former Academy of Country Music Entertainer of the Year has seven Grammy awards and a lengthy list of hits: She belts ’em out and sings with power and passion.

The Top Hits: Pretty much pick your favorite Underwood song and she sang it and made it special, from the personal, touching “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted” and the darker side of “Renegade Runaway” to the scorching “Church Bells” (her new single) and the rocking “Cowboy Casanova,” which warns of a guy who “looks like a cool drink of water, but he’s candy-coated misery.” She had the crowd singing along on the woman-done-wrong crossover smash “Before He Cheats,” the 2007 Country Music Association Single of the Year. And if you wanted a story song, the edgy, bluesy “Choctaw County Affair” — with Underwood playing a pretty mean harmonica — more than fit the bill.

Covering a Lot of Ground: Artists like Underwood always have a huge pile of hits to play, but it’s always fun when they take time to pay tribute to acts that have influenced them along the way by performing a cover or two. She brought Corbin and the Swon Brothers back out for a crowd-pleasing version of the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ in the Dark” and put her own spin on the iconic “I Will Always Love You,” which was a lot more Dolly Parton than Whitney Houston. Earlier, Corbin pleased with powerful covers of George Strait’s “Check Yes or No,” Toby Keith’s “Should’ve Been a Cowboy” and Alabama’s “If You’re Gonna Play in Texas (You Gotta Have a Fiddle in the Band).”

Doting on Dolly: Underwood gushed about Parton, calling her “a giant influence” and “the best of the best of the best.” “Of all the incredible storytellers country music has to offer,” she said, Dolly is “the queen.”
click to enlarge BRIAN CHILSON
  • Brian Chilson
Dressed to the Nines: Well, OK, maybe to the sevens. By our count, that was the number of times she changed outfits, which included altering one a tad. The highlight? Well, that little black number she wore at the end of the show was a stunner, but there was an eye-catching red one earlier that was also spectacular and that skimpy black one at the beginning and, well, we’re pretty sure all of them in their glittery, sparkling glory were meant to blow us away. Goal accomplished.

The Encore: Underwood saved a pair of big numbers for her show-stopping finale — “Smoke Break” and the inspirational “Something in the Water” about turning to a higher power in uneasy times. The latter is a bit reminiscent of her early smash “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” a crowd favorite that she sang earlier in the show.

Easy Does It for Easton: We’ve been expecting Corbin and his traditional-country voice to find a bigger audience ever since he hit the country scene back in 2009 with the No. 1 hit “A Little More Country Than That” (still a mainstay of his set list). Maybe that’ll happen one of these days, but in the meantime it’s good to see him on tour with a major star and getting a decent amount of time (almost 40 minutes) to showcase many of his top releases, like “Roll With It” (his other No. 1), “Lovin’ You Is Fun,” “All Over the Road,” “Baby Be My Love Song” and his new single, the beautiful “Are You With Me,” that he said is one of his favorites. Corbin, a former Florida farm boy and FFA member, has a smooth, easy-going vocal style that is — dare we say it — unashamedly country. We shamelessly enjoyed it.

Swon Songs: The Swon Brothers, Zach and Colton, real-life brothers from Muskogee, Okla., opened the show. With crisp vocals and tight harmonies, they pleased with numbers like “Later On,” “Throwback” and “Just Another Girl.” But, speaking of covers, we were hoping for at least a verse of “Okie From Muskogee,” the way the guys did it when they came in third on the fourth season of NBC’s “The Voice.” We’ll chalk it up to not having enough time in their brief 20-minute set.

Tags: , ,

From the ArkTimes store


Speaking of Carrie Underwood, Reviews

Comments (2)

Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

Subscribe to this thread:
Showing 1-2 of 2

Add a comment

More by Bill Paddack

Readers also liked…

  • Staff Picks: Netflix and Chill, Benji's pasta fresca, Creedence Clearwater Revival and more

    The podcast Design Matters, published by Design Observer, is celebrating its 10th year and they are revisiting some of their best episodes from the last decade. I just finished this week's replay of the interview with the Scottish born illustrator Marion Deuchars. At the end of the wonderful interview, her two young sons are invited into the studio near where they pitch in some of their own thoughts on art and, in particular, drawing in the art books their mother created for children and adults.
    • Aug 28, 2015
  • Guest Mix: Rural War Room

    World wide weird duo Rural War Room (Donavan Suitt & Byron Werner) is celebrating 10 years of broadcasting and production here in Little Rock and abroad. RWR Radio on KABF 88.3 FM (10 p.m. Tuesdays or anytime on their website), features the duo alternating records in an effort to surprise one another.
    • Sep 14, 2015
  • Your new flags of Little Rock

    BRASHER: Hello Arkansans, this is the first piece from us, Brasher and Rowe and we are some dudes who work in downtown Little Rock and we eat lunch and just talk about all the exciting things around here.
    • Sep 18, 2015

Most Shared

Visit Arkansas

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Forest bathing is the Next Big Thing

Arkansas is the perfect place to try out this new health trend. Read all about the what, why, where and how here.



© 2017 Arkansas Times | 201 East Markham, Suite 200, Little Rock, AR 72201
Powered by Foundation