Last night I was completely entertained by Mrs. Blake Shelton, so I was looking very forward to tonight’s performance by her other half, Mr. Miranda Lambert! Both nights I was hoping to see one join the other on stage for a little extra special sumthin’ on the probably rare occasion when both Mr. and Mrs. are in the house at the same time! But no….apparently Miranda had to fly out after her show to resume the tour she’s in the midst of at the moment. Bummer for me…but, this whole experience was a wonderful thing, nonetheless. Blake Shelton made his debut in country music in 2001 and has been on the top of the charts ever since. He’s had numerous awards, gold certified albums, platinum singles, and is currently starring as a mentor on the television show, “The Voice.” Tonight he hit the stage decked out in a stylin’ gray shirt with rolled up sleeves that showed a nice tattoo on his left forearm. He belted out his hits “God Gave Me You,” “Drink On It,” as well as “All About Tonight” and his new single, “Over.” He had Gwen Sebastian joining him on backup vocals, which was a nice touch since he was instrumental in kickstarting her career. Beach balls were being bounced off the hands and heads of the audience during his performance and the crowd was in full party mode. This good ol’ Oklahoma boy rocked the stadium with his fun party song, “All About Tonight” and the place was jumpin’ until his last song, “Honey Bee,” to which he asked the audience to join him in singing every word along with him…which they happily obliged. Thanks, Blake for a fun show!
After Mississippi native, Randy Houser (http://www.randyhouser.com/about) sang a few on the acoustic stage, the time came for tonight’s headliner, Carrie Underwood. Honest as I am, I admit I am not a Carrie fan. And, even more honestly, I think I’m less of one now. But, I must say that it probably wasn’t her that caused me to walk out before the show was over, but her sound guy, about who I spouted “should be shot!” while leaving my seat. Carrie screams while she sings. At least, she did this night. When the sound system is turned up full blast, it is not a good combination. Even with earplugs, the vibrations in my head were unbearable. Apparently, I wasn’t the only unhappy concert goer, as I had lots of company in the exit aisles on the way out. But, back to Carrie’s show: She was introduced by Perry sister, Kimberly to a roaring welcome. She looked gorgeous in sequined jeans shorts and a patriotic tank-top decorated with the American flag. She stormed the stage – all thin and fit, long blonde hair, and many a cowboy’s dream – her first song outta the gate being her current hit, “Good Girl.” Her upbeat energy infected her fans, and this Oklahoma girl was happily on fire entertaining the masses this night. With gazillions of kudos already in her collection – winner of 2005’s American Idol, multiple music awards (Billboard, Country, People’s Choice, etc,) this girl undoubtedly has a long future of fame ahead of her. In between songs, she told the audience (as did Miranda Lambert the night before) that she had come to the CMA Festival as a young girl and experienced the show from the audience. Being on stage now as a performer is such an honor for her and she was thankful for it and to all her supporters. She then went into more songs, “All-American Girl,” “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” “Blown Away” and showed her vocal range and long-lasting note holding. Carrie strutted her stuff from one end of the stage to the other for her entire show. It seems she didn’t stop parading back and forth until her final song, “Before He Cheats,” when she skipped happily off the stage to end the night! No wonder she’s so skinny!!
Each night after the show, as we traipsed over the bridge while leaving the concert, a fireworks show was on display overhead. The brightly lit, colorful sky above, was a festive nightcap to each wonderful night of talent, with the delighted crowd heading home recapping the shows, content and satisfied.
Although there are two more nights left to this festival, our time is over, due to other commitments. My cohort and I were so thoroughly thrilled by our experience, that we have decided to do it again next year, committing to all four nights! Well, wishful thinking, anyway…Good night, Nashville! Thanks for a memorable experience!! http://www.cmaworld.com/cma-music-festival/tickets/
Coming up: Moving on to Memphis!
When Jake Owen hit the stage, I started wondering how all these talented young country singers could be so darned good looking, too! I’m almost convinced that the pre-requisite these days involves rockin’ bods and hot looks, as well as musical and vocal talent…not to mention great songwriting and performance ability! It’s almost as if these guys (and gals) were dropped down from Country Music Heaven to appeal to all the audiences’ senses.
Not that I could really see, but I hear that Jake was barefoot, which is appropriate, considering his big hit, “Barefoot Bluejean Night.” He immediately engaged the audience in a sing along, arms waving back and forth in the air in unison, chanting “Whoa-0-0-0h!” throughout the entire stadium. What a sight to see! Jake really engaged the crowd, and jumped in and joined the front few rows by forging out onto the security barrier and getting up close and personal with them. He shook hands, slapped fives, and sang amongst his fans. He also did a little crowd surfing, no doubt getting caught up in the frenetic passion of the night. The crowd was already bursting with enthusiastic country music love, but it was Jake who electrified the energy to a higher level. Go Jake!!
Slowing things down, a fairly unknown newcomer, Gwen Sebastian sang to us from the acoustic stage at center field. Between songs, she mentioned that she had been on “Team Blake” on the reality show, “The Voice.” She added how thankful she was to Blake Shelton and the show for all they have done for her, her singing career, and for Country Music, in general. She later returned to the main stage to join Blake and his band as a backup singer. Good going, Gwen!
Next up was The Band Perry– two brothers and their sister, who were 2011’s CMA New Artist of the Year winners. They started with, not their own song, but the new hit by Fun, “We Are Young,” then went into Queen’s “Fat-Bottomed Girls.” An interesting start to a country music set, but it worked. These attractive siblings expressed their appreciation to their fans when sister Kimberly shared that “You may not know this, but you’ve changed the lives of my brothers and me!” She then invited the crowd to “sing it if you know it” while they performed their hit songs, “All Your Life” and “If I Die Young.” Watching this trio, I couldn’t help but think how proud their parents must be. What it would be like to have such talented and successful children? As unimaginable it is to me (tho, I love my kids, who are successful in their own individual ways) I decided that, in my next life, not only will my kids be like the Perrys, but I will be the next Miranda Lambert, hot, gorgeous and talented!! *sheepish grin*
On the second day of CMA Fest (not necessarily sung to the tune of ‘Partridge in a Pear Tree, but….can be) the festival brought to us…pause…the National Anthem sung by the Oak Ridge Boys! I forgot to mention that each night of the festival is begun with the “Star Spangled Banner,” just like a ball game, or any good All-American celebration. (Though, I have yet to see it happen at the beginning of any rock concert I’ve been to.) Then, there was a short patriotic display of fireworks to kick off the show. But, before they left the stage, the emcee reminded the audience of the Oak Ridge Boys’ big hit, “Elvira” which promoted them to perform it for us. It was a pleasant surprise for those of us who were around in their hey-day.
Tonight’s legendary opening artist was Ronnie Milsap, who dazzled from behind his piano in a black shirt adorned with what looked like palm trees and silver studs. With a full head of black, wavy hair and dark sunglasses, he treated us to some of his biggest hits – “Stranger in My House,” “I Wouldn’t Have Missed It For the World,” It Was Almost Like a Song,” “Pure Love,” “No Gettin’ Over Me,” and then threw in one of my favorite Rolling Stones songs, “Honky Tonk Woman.” It was a pleasure seeing Ronnie at work, and sweet to watch him escorted off stage by a young woman, with a big smile on his face.
Next up was a newcomer by the name of Brantley Gilbert, who has a few songs playing on my radio these days. Another talented Georgia boy, he blazed the stage dressed in black, accessorized in silver chains, dog tags, tattoos, the works.* With his black guitar, and band mate in white, Brantley laid out songs like “My Kinda Party” and “Country Must Be Country Wide”
with a voice that sounds like it was born on a tractor in the middle of a dirt field. He grinds out a true Southern sound, with a smooth sexual quality. He’s a young country rocker whose songs make mention of those that came before him – Lynyrd Skynyrd, George Strait, Hank Williams, Willie Nelson, etc. A few more years, and a few more hits, and this guy will make his mark in country music forever.
*Jumping off the concert review for a sec, I wanted to make mention of all the ‘bling’ these musicians were sporting. Most of it was provided by a company called “King Baby,” who specializes in ‘rocker/outlaw-chic handmade jewelry, accessories, and apparel.’ This Santa Monica-based company has become popular with West Coast rock stars and is now hoping to add the country music crowd. They had a big Grand Opening launch party in Nashville on June 5, complete with cocktails, wine and appetizers. They showcased their pieces, which were influenced by cool past rockers like Jimi Hendrix, Janis Joplin, and the Grateful Dead. Check out their stuff at: www.kingbabystudio.com
Coming up: Jake Owen, The Band Perry, Blake Shelton & Carrie Underwood