Martina McBride/Trace Adkins 

Verizon Arena, Jan. 22.

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I can officially say that I have been mooned by Martina McBride. And by mooned I mean, of course, the neon blue and white crescent kind that soared high above the crowd, toward the back of Verizon Arena last Friday night, with McBride atop, singing the mournful ballad “Concrete Angel.”

A little silly, maybe, but a nice effect that thrilled fans midway through her set, especially those seated in prime viewing range of the rear stage, where she landed. From there, McBride sang three songs, including the heart-breaking “I'm Trying.” She returned to the main stage through the audience, greeting fans along the way, and singing the popular anthem “This One's For the Girls.”

Through all the smoke and lights, McBride's powerful voice shone. One of the strongest moments of the concerts came when she and three band members with acoustic guitars covered Kris Kristofferson's “Help Me Make It Through the Night” from her “Timeless” album. “That's some good country music right there!” she said. “If I had a beer I'd be crying in it right now.”

Then there were the deep baritone vocals of Trace Adkins. Though he drove the women wild with his trademark crooked smile and hip-thrusting, it was the men that really seemed enamored with him. Rowdy cowboys throughout the crowd — with empty 24-ounce beer cups stacked together like trophies — did awkward Adkins-style dances in the aisles and yelled wildly as he performed hits like “I Got My Game On,” “Swing,” and “Marry For Money.” He took a break from his funky country rock to get raw with “Just Want to Feel Something.” Then at the end of his set, Adkins taunted the crowd, “You know what country boys like ...” Swinging his hips low, he launched into the infectious “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk.” The crowd went wild.

The evening provided a little something for everyone, from classic country to pure rock ‘n' roll — complete with Adkins' encore of “Muddy Water” and Stevie Wonder's “Higher Ground,” and McBride's encore of Bon Jovi's “Living On a Prayer” and Journey's “Don't Stop Believing.” But what local concert would be complete without the fans somehow managing to work in a hog call? When McBride introduced her band, a member just happened to be from Springdale. What other kind of response would you expect?

— Erica Schaffer


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