Miranda Lambert shines through the rain

A review of Miranda Lambert at The Big E on October 1

, Staff Writer

The past year has been a bit of a fairytale for Miranda Lambert, her latest album Revolution topped the Country charts, she was nominated for a nine Country Music Association awards and became engaged to fellow musician Blake Shelton, but she proved on Friday night during a freezing, rain soaked concert at the Big E in Springfield that she is no princess. In fact, she solidified her status as ‘one bad ass chick’ and proved why she is a real contender for the Country Music Association’s Entertainer of the Year.

Captivating the sold out crowd of diehard country music fans (yes, Massachusetts loves its country music) from the first song, Lambert hit the stage with “Only Prettier” from her latest album Revolution and quickly worked through several hits including, “Kerosene”, a cover of the Hal Ketchum song, “Small Town Saturday Night” and “Dead Flowers” before stopping to given a heartfelt thanks to the fans for coming out in the rain, saying “I cannot believe we sold out Massachusetts in the rain, I feel blessed that you bought tickets and came out in this crappy weather.”

The East Texas native then spent the next ninety minutes working hard to show her gratitude, playing a deeply personal set that was perfectly designed to showcase the breadth of her talent and all faucets of her personality. Performing the majority of the tracks off Revolution, and album which she co-wrote most the songs, a few songs off 2007’s Crazy Ex-Girlfriend and several well placed covers, Lambert effortlessly shifted between tender ballads and hard-rocking country tunes.

“More Like Her” and “The House That Built Me” featured Lambert’s strong, yet stunningly beautiful vocals, while “Sin for a Sin” a song that was dedicated to “all the boys who made me cry “. While, “Time to Get a Gun” (Lambert is a lifetime NRA member and has a permit to carry a concealed weapon) and crowd favorite “White Liar” (during which, interestingly, she brought opener Eric Church out on to the stage) emphasized her hard-rocking country roots. But, it was the autobiographical “Heart Like Mine”, which chronicles her journeys in life, love and music over the past decade that pulled it all together.

Before closing out the main set, the 27 year-old stunner said, “I am one of those redneck chicks, today is October 1st and where I come from it is officially deer hunting season. Yes, I am a beer drinking, deer killing, chicken fried steak eating girl and I won’t tolerate a man who puts his hands on a woman.”, before singing the justice themed “Gunpowder & Lead”.

Taking the stage for a quick encore, Lambert again thanked the audience for sticking it out in the horrible weather, adding, “during the meet and greet a fan told me that a concession stand worker had said I was too much of a princess to play in the rain, well sir, I have a few four letter words just for you!” before playing a perfectly executed cover of Merle Haggard’s “Misery and Gin”.

It is understandable that Lambert should feel blessed, but make no mistake she has earned every accolade and each fan the hard way. Lambert’s music is unapologetically autobiographical and has a theme of empowerment throughout that translates into a very personal, spirited live performance. To say that the weather was horrible is an understatement, but her feisty personality, genuineness, storytelling skills (both in her songs and interactions with the audience), outstanding musicianship and exceptional vocals, made the crowd (almost) forget about the rain. Almost.

Joining Lambert on the CMT Revolution Tour was country superstar, Eric Church who, along with an amazing backing band that featured four guitarists, did a great job warming up the crowd (literally) as his hard-rocking energetic performance had the crowd dancing throughout his fifty minute set that featured, the anthematic “Pledge Allegiance to the Hag” ( a tribute to Merle Haggard), “Guys Like Me”, “These Boots” (during which fans literally raised boots in the air) and set closer “Smoke a Little Smoke”.

Opening the show in impressive form was country music newcomer Josh Kelley. Kelley who is most known on the singer-songwriter circuit, recently signed with MCA Nashville and is working on an upcoming album, introduced the audience to a few new songs including, “Naleigh Moon” a beautiful ballad written for his daughter, the Top 40 Hot Country hit “Georgia Clay”, and also played his most recognized song “Amazing”. During his brief twenty minute set, Kelley proved to be the consummate professional dealing with weather and equipment issues, saying, “My Momma always said, the show must always go on!”

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