Carrie Underwood Reigns Supreme During The Storyteller Tour-Stories In The Round

Carrie Underwood. Photo: Schmidt PR

Carrie Underwood. Photo: Schmidt PR

“It feels so good to be back on the road,” Carrie Underwood told the crowd on Friday (Feb. 5) at Louisville, Kentucky’s KFC Yum! Center, home to the fourth stop on Underwood’s The Storyteller Tour-Stories in the Round. “I hope you are ready to party because we are.”

Judging by the crowd’s reaction, the feeling was more than mutual. It was clear that Underwood’s fans have been eagerly awaiting live music, following Underwood’s The Blown Away Tour in 2012-2013. Since then, Underwood has taken time off the road to release Greatest Hits: Decade #1, her fifth studio album Storyteller, and to give birth to her son Isaiah.

Underwood wedged 22 songs into her nearly two-hour performance, including eight tracks from Storyteller. For the majority of the show, Underwood played hit song after hit song, her voice strong, confident, and rejuvenated.

Appropriate for a tour named In The Round, three LED rings hung above center stage, emblazoned with imagery from The Storyteller Tour. The contraption descended, forming a towering stage. Garbed in a resplendent golden frock, country’s queen made her entrance atop the nearly 18-foot high center lift, and held court from the first bluesy notes of “Renegade Runaway,” a track from Storyteller.

The Storyteller Tour’s production more than complimented Underwood’s commanding voice and her songs’ dramatic storylines. The massive stage stretched across the entire arena, ensuring fans on every side of the arena got a great seat. The three LED rings hanging above center stage lowered, rose, and rotated at other moments during the concert to create a dramatic focal point. Four satellite stages and varying lifts offered a myriad of visual options that kept the audience engaged.

The intensity of the production might have overpowered a lesser artist, but Underwood, with her confident, engaging persona and clear, sharp soprano, remained the centerpiece of the evening.

Strutting from one end of the massive stage to the other, Underwood was sassy and playful as she powered through a set of rock- and pop-tinged country hits including “Last Name,” “Undo It,” and “Good Girl,” reminding the crowd that she also possesses possibly one of the best female rock voices in the business. Of course, Underwood didn’t have to do all the legwork; the center stage rotated 360 degrees during several songs throughout the evening.

Carrie Underwood on harmonica during "Choctaw County Affair." Photo: Schmidt PR

Carrie Underwood on harmonica during “Choctaw County Affair.” Photo: Schmidt PR

Underwood was seven songs into her set before the paced slowed. Underwood’s backing band sank beneath the stage as a spotlight and disco ball punctuated a performance of her current single, “Heartbeat,” followed by her debut single from 2005, “Jesus, Take The Wheel.”

“This is still one of my favorite songs to sing,” Underwood told the crowd. The inspirational tune still wears well more than a decade later, eliciting one of the biggest crowd responses of the evening. More hits followed, including “Wasted,” “Two Black Cadillacs,” and an especially sterling rendition of “Blown Away.”

Having amassed plentiful No. 1 songs in her career (including many that she co-wrote), Underwood has reached the enviable career phase of having to select which chart-toppers to incorporate into shows. While Underwood did her best to showcase hits from all chapters of her career, songs such as “So Small,” “Just A Dream,” “Temporary Home,”  and “See You Again,” were absent from the set.

Underwood’s powerhouse voice wasn’t the only instrument she showcased throughout the evening. She played guitar on working person’s anthem “Smoke Break,” and held her own during a harmonica “battle” with a band member during another Storyteller track, the southern murder mystery “Choctaw County Affair.”

She gave the crowd a turn in the spotlight during “All-American Girl,” holding a “Carrie Cam” as she circled the stage’s perimeter.

Carrie Underwood closes the show with "Something In The Water."

Carrie Underwood closes the show with “Something In The Water.” Photo: Schmidt PR

While it has become expected for country artists these days to incorporate at least one Top 40 or rock ‘n’ roll cover tune in concert, Underwood bucked the trend, keeping her two cover tunes entrenched in classic country.

“There are so many amazing artists that I got to grow up listening to and I respect so much,” Underwood told the crowd. “I feel like I would be just wrong if I didn’t mention one person that so many of us in my generation of country music idolize…that person that has meant so much to us is Dolly Parton. She’s the person we all aspire to have her career. She’s one of the nicest and most humble people I’ve met in my entire life,” she said, before quieting the crowd with an a cappella intro (later tastefully backed by a lone acoustic guitar) of Parton’s signature “I Will Always Love You.”

Two songs later, Underwood welcomed show openers The Swon Brothers and Easton Corbin back to the stage for a fun romp of Nitty Gritty Dirt Band’s “Fishin’ In The Dark.”

Another highlight of the evening came with the closing track from Storyteller, “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted.” Underwood sang from atop a piano as personal photos and videos of Underwood with husband Mike Fisher and their nearly one-year-old son Isaiah scrolled on video screens around the arena, giving fans a peek at Underwood’s life beyond the music and touring.

Underwood closed the show from center stage, her voice soaring and inspired on her Grammy-winning track “Something In The Water.” Blue lasers were employed to make “rain” fall across the entire stage. The effect was a dramatic and potent reminder of why this multi-talented performer is a seven-time Grammy winner and a two-time ACM Entertainer of the Year.

The event further landed on a high note for Underwood; during an after-show celebration, Underwood was presented with a plaque celebrating more than 20 million albums sold for her albums Some Hearts, Carnival Ride, Play On, Blown Away, Greatest Hits: Decade #1 and Storyteller.

Pictured (L-R): Sony Music Nashville Marketing Director Rachel Fontenot, Sales VP Caryl Healey, Promotion & Artist Development EVP Steve Hodges, and Chairman & CEO Randy Goodman; Carrie Underwood; Sony Music Nashville EVP/COO Ken Robold; Ann Edelblute, Carrie Underwood’s manager (The HQ); and Sony Music Nashville Marketing Sr. VP Paul Barnabee, Marketing & Media Mgr Bob Foglia, and Digital Strategy VP Sarah Westbrook. Photo: Jeff Johnson

Pictured (L-R): Sony Music Nashville Marketing Director Rachel Fontenot, Sales VP Caryl Healey, Promotion & Artist Development EVP Steve Hodges, and Chairman & CEO Randy Goodman; Carrie Underwood; Sony Music Nashville EVP/COO Ken Robold; Ann Edelblute, Carrie Underwood’s manager (The HQ); and Sony Music Nashville Marketing Sr. VP Paul Barnabee, Marketing & Media Mgr Bob Foglia, and Digital Strategy VP Sarah Westbrook. Photo: Jeff Johnson

SET LIST:

1. “Renegade Runaway”
2. “Last Name”/“Something Bad” (chorus)
3. “Undo It”
4. “Good Girl”
5. “Church Bells”
6. “Cowboy Cassanova”
7. “Heartbeat”
8. “Jesus, Take The Wheel”
9. “Wasted”
10. “Blown Away”
11. “Two Black Cadillacs”
12. “Dirty Laundry”
13. “Choctaw County Affair”
14. “I Will Always Love You”
15. “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted”
16. “Fishin’ In The Dark”
17. “Clock Don’t Stop”
18. “All-American Girl”
19. “Little Toy Guns”
20. “Before He Cheats”
21. “Smoke Break”
22. “Something In The Water”

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About the Author

Jessica Nicholson serves as the Managing Editor for MusicRow magazine. Her previous music journalism experience includes work with Country Weekly magazine and Contemporary Christian Music (CCM) magazine. She holds a BBA degree in Music Business and Marketing from Belmont University. She welcomes your feedback at [email protected]

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