Fans young and old were treated to an entertaining evening Tuesday at the Bryce Jordan Center. Country superstar Carrie Underwood brought her “Blown Away” tour to State College and blew away the audience with an amazing performance.
The evening opened with rising country star Hunter Hayes performing songs from his debut self-titled album. Hayes sang to a crowd of screaming girls with the hit singles “Storm Warning” and “Wanted.”
After Hayes’ set, Underwood made a dramatic entrance on stage and began the show with the hit single off her new album, “Good Girl,” followed by “Undo It,” and “Wasted,” from her 2005 debut album, “Some Hearts.” Several times during the concert, Underwood went below the stage and changed outfits, coming back with another set of songs.
At one point in the show, the stage crew set up a platform, which Underwood and a portion of her band stood on as they were suspended by cables over the audience. They then performed a select number of songs from her new album. This was entertaining for sure but seemed unnecessary for a musical performance.
Throughout most of the show, various screens above and behind the stage displayed still photos and videos which provided thematic backdrop for each song she performed. For example, a black Cadillac for her soon to be released song titled “Two Black Cadillacs,” a diner for her 2007 hit “All-American Girl,” and the video for her new hit single “Blown Away,” featuring a tornado storm, which Underwood uses as a metaphor to her anger toward her abusive father.
In addition to performing songs from her new album and previous hits, Underwood did an interesting version of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion,” then later performed a duet with her good friend and fellow country star Brad Paisley. With Paisley not there in person but onscreen, she sang with him on their hit song “Remind Me.”
Underwood and her band were outstanding from a talent standpoint. She certainly knows a lot about music and has outstanding musicians playing for her. But I found the music to be extremely loud throughout most of the show. The instrumentation tended to drown out Underwood’s voice at times, with a lot of distortion. I will point out is the fact that Underwood does not flaunt herself around like Britney Spears or Jennifer Lopez. She is still a country girl at heart and hasn’t forgotten where she came from. She is beautiful and sexy without trying to be, yet at the same time has a genuine and wholesome quality about her.
I was impressed with Underwood’s incredible stage presence and her ability as a performer. She is obviously very talented or she would not have achieved the success that she has in such a short amount of time. After seeing her live for the first time, I’ve come to admire and respect her as an artist. But to me she is really more of a performer than a singer.
I might be a little old-fashioned, but I thought Underwood’s show was a bit over the top. It made me long for the days when artists didn’t use theatrics, electronic gimmicks and Autotune to entertain an audience. I long for the days when musical artist would entertain an audience on just voice alone. Young people today would probably find that absolutely boring and lame. They want to be blown away, and Underwood certainly delivered with this performance.
Jason Klose can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.