by Michael Rampa
Carrie Underwood came to Pittsburgh looking to score a first round knockout at CONSOL Energy Center. The arena managed to endure seven bruising rounds of a high decibel beat down before she let up with “Temporary Home.”
The “Blown Away” tour is a 23-song auditory assault from the scorching opener, “Good Girl.” The show includes about a third of the songs from the new album and showcases a spectacular main stage featuring moveable screens and floors. The video screen was mostly filled with tornado imagery throughout.
The massive stage occasionally seemed like it was too much area to cover in stilettos, even for the most athletic legs in the business. Each of her four costume changes featured outfits that showcased her signature stems.
In the middle of the set, she and the band floated over the crowd on a rustic wood stage and showcased a few new songs, including the reggae tinged “One Way Ticket” and the sweet “Do You Think About Me?” Upon her return to the main stage, she performed two duets, “Leave Love Alone” with precocious opener Hunter Hayes and a virtual with perennial CMA co-host Brad Paisley for “Remind Me”
Her choice to cover Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” was fitting as she matched Steven Tyler’s ability to wail.
Underwood’s pipes are sincredibly powerful but her full voice lacks the silky finesse of other high powered vocalists like her idol Martina McBride and Lady A’s Hillary Scott. As a result, some of the ballads still feel like a bludgeoning and even screechy at times. The cover of Randy Travis’s “I Told You So” and her first Number One “Jesus Take the Wheel.” were prime examples.
When she does manage to tone it down, it is a refreshing and welcome change of pace. The moving “Temporary Home” and “I Know you Won’t” were spellbinding.
Her sound engineers may have been using Spinal Tap’s amps. Extra wattage was definitely needed for this show.
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