Date: February 25, 2013
City: Oakland, CA
Venue: Oracle Arena
Artist: Carrie Underwood
Opening Act(s): Hunter Hayes
I’ve never been a fan of country music. I remember an aunt having the country radio station programmed in her car and feeling tortured by the twang in the singers’ voices. Overtime there were a few country singers that I began to like. Patsy Cline (thanks to Jessica Lange’s portrayal of her in “Sweet Dreams”), Shania Twain and Garth Brooks come to mind.
Today there are many country artists that crossover to pop with songs played on the radio stations I tend to listen to. I didn’t watch the season of “American Idol” Carrie Underwood won, but recall hearing about her after the show ended. When I heard “Before He Cheats” and saw the video she won me over. I’m sure there are several women out there that could say the same thing. I even know a few guys that really like the song.
Since I decided to start writing this blog, I thought I should expand the genre of music I see live in concert. I’ve heard that Carrie Underwood puts on a great show and felt that I needed to see for myself.
While in line to get into the venue, I could tell that I did not fit in with the rest of the crowd. I wasn’t wearing flannel, boots or a cowboy hat. Regardless, I was excited to experience something new.
The stage set up was pretty cool. The floor towards the back of the stage was slanted and moved up to reveal a door that Carrie entered from. There were three screens that moved together to display different images depending on the song. Two different stages held the band and would move together or separate to allow Carrie to enter/exit.
“Good Girl” is what got the show started. Yay! A song I kind of know. She covered Randy Travis’ “I Told You So” – another song I know. Four songs in and I’m having a good time. By the time she got to “Cowboy Casanova” I realized that I knew a lot more of her songs than I had realized. Thank you mainstream radio and VH-1 Top 20 Countdown.
In the middle of the show, Carrie and her band floated above the crowd from the stage to the soundboards. She mentioned that the floating stage came about while brainstorming what they would do if they had no limitations. Her team gave it a shot and was able to create this (see photo below). I have no idea how she was able to sing as the stage was moving. I probably would have experienced motion sickness. During this portion of the show she sang “All-American Girl” which was very popular with the crowd and somewhat familiar to me.
The crowd went crazy when she sang “Before He Cheats”. At one point she let the audience sing the chorus and they rose to the challenge. You could hear every word clearly as if everyone mic’d.
I thought Carrie’s voice was strong throughout the show. She had 5 different outfits and looked beautiful. I want some of her shoes! All but one outfit had knuckle gloves that glittered and sparkled along with her outfits. The one ensemble that did not include these gloves was the one she was wearing while on the floating stage. Instead she had a strap around her wrist that was connected to the microphone. My assumption is the gloves help her keep hold of the mic.
She ended the show with “Blown Away”. There were wind areas on the stage that blew her hair back as she sang. Very similar to when you imagine models standing in front of large fans as they are posing during their photo shoots. There was brown, green and yellow confetti swirling around as well. The last few lines of her song she was engulfed in a white cloud of smoke and more confetti that swirled around like a tornado (see photo below). I thought this effect was pretty cool.
There were some drunk girls on BART after the show that were loudly talking about how they thought the concert sucked in comparison to the Nashville show they had seen. I’ve never seen Carrie before so I can’t compare, but I did enjoyed the show despite not knowing all of her songs. In my opinion that is a good thing.
Hunter Hayes is an adorable 21-year-old singer/songwriter that opened up for Carrie. His voice was pitchy, but the tweens and teens loved him. He reminded of John Mayer as he played guitar – they make similar faces as they feel what they are playing. Hunter worked the stage well, talked to the crowd and had a stage presence despite his young age. I don’t see him as a headliner just yet, but he was a good opener for Carrie despite his pitchiness.