Carrie Underwood is a country artist known for her powerhouse vocals and songs that tell a story with every line. Fifteen years ago, she won American Idol at the age of 22 and has become an icon across country and pop genres. Underwood is a seven-time Grammy award winner and has had 26 No. 1 singles for six studio albums.
On Friday, Oct. 4, I had the chance to see Underwood perform at the Capital One Arena for her Cry Pretty tour. The show started at seven o’clock, so my friends and I grabbed a bite to eat at a restaurant a block from the arena. Already, the streets were buzzing with fans decked out in cowboy hats, boots, concert T-shirts, and jean jackets. Classic country outfits for a country crowd.
The stage was set up as an oval, which allowed the singers to reach all parts of the arena. Screens were included that hung from the ceiling, and images and videos of the artists were projected throughout the show. This was a welcome addition for fans who had seats at the top row, or two rows from the top in my case!
Opening group Runaway June were a fantastic start to the night. Although people were still filling the stadium, they got the crowd excited. They played some of their hits like “Wild West,” “Lipstick,” “We Were Rich,” and ending with their hit song, “Buy My Own Drinks.” Their energy and sparkly clothes were contagious, and even people who didn’t know them were dancing and swaying along. Following Runaway June was the hit duo Maddie & Tae. They didn’t take long to set up and pretty soon the crowd was again singing and dancing to the music. They sang their hit songs, “Tourist in this Town,” “Friends Don’t,” “Girl in a Country Song,” and “Die From a Broken Heart.” Both groups utilized the oval stage very well, making sure each corner of the arena felt included.
After about 20 minutes of waiting, the lights dimmed and the screens lit up announcing Carrie Underwood. She started the night by singing her album single “Southbound,” a fun summer song to get the crowd excited. Underwood then launched into a series of her all-time hits, including some of my favorites: “Good Girl,” “Cowboy Casanova,” “See You Again,” “Temporary Home,” and “Jesus Take the Wheel.” Everyone from grandparents to little girls in pink cowboy boots were on their feet singing as loud as they could. It was incredible to hear the songs I’d grown up listening to in this setting. Underwood then went into her new songs off the Cry Pretty album, many of which I had only heard a few times. From the old to the new, she brought the same power to each song as heard in the recordings and made unique additions to each one. Each song included beautiful costumes, screen images, and lights to create a different atmosphere for each song.
Underwood took the time to introduce and highlight each individual band member, demonstrating her appreciative personality. During the tour, she has interviewed people who have faced difficult situations and pushed through them, champions. While preforming her song, “The Champion,” she invited someone on stage from Maryland whose sister is battling a severe disease. Underwood sang with them and showed her recognition of hard work. It was such a humbling moment and put perspective on life’s problems. She then ended the night with an encore of the songs “Cry Pretty” and “Love Wins,” which was a beautiful and inspiring end to the night.
Overall, the concert was the perfect combination of her classics and new album. She is not only an incredible singer, but also a fantastic performer. Underwood captivates her audience from the beginning to the end and delivers a message through each song. It was such a special night, and I would recommend seeing her whether you’ve been a fan for a week or since you were five with pink cowboy boots.