The Queen of country Carrie Underwood brought her Story Teller Tour to the Budweiser Gardens in London, Ont. this past Monday for one spectacular night. This was the last stop of this leg of the tour before resuming again in the fall and gave fans a 360 experience with a very elaborate stage that nearly spanned the length of the arena with screens directly above centre stage facing all sides. The stage was incredible having rotating and movable parts, which included three circles one directly in the centre and two at opposing ends which had Carrie rising to different levels and being lowered beneath the stage for many of her stunning costume changes. Carrie’s performance, not surprising at all, was nothing short of spectacular and glamorous. She had the audience completely captivated by her beauty, grace and powerful vocals.
Underwood had special guests joining her on tour, The Swon Brothers and Easton Corbin, both putting on great sets.
Taking the stage first, The Swon Brothers, Colton and Zach Swon are an energetic fun duo sharing Carrie’s home-state of Oklahoma. The brothers and their band took centre stage and cranked out their new single Throwback from their latest album Timeless. However the duo did not stay put at centre stage for too long as they began to wander around the monster stage fully energized and engaging with the crowd. The brothers harmonizing incredibly together sang some more from their albums, but also belting out King of Leon’s Use Somebody hitting every note and having the crowd singing and dancing along. I truly thought it was incredible how the brothers at the end of their set made one lucky fans night by giving them an autographed guitar.
Next up was Easton Corbin, a Florida native with true country vocals, taking the stage with his band to a clock ringing throughout the arena and kicked off with a fan favourite Clockwork. It was with Corbin’s band that we first got to see how the stage worked as the six piece band was raised and then rotated around centre stage. Corbin too wandered from end to end of the massive stage joined at times by one of his talented guitarists or fiddler playing new and old hits. Easton Corbin shared with us what he expressed as a very special song to him, Are You With Me. I see this being yet another hit, it’s truly beautiful. Corbin having a little bit of fun on stage and joking with band members played notes of Michael Jackson, a tribute to when he was born, some Metallica, during teenage years. Then playing Waterfalls by TLC shared that he had a high school crush but knew it would never workout when this was her favourite music. Corbin then broke into an astounding cover of Shoulda Been A Cowboy and then She Thinks My Tractors Sexy.
In between sets Underwood had a DJ spinning hits and keeping the crowd energized and entertained. He even had a t-shirt bazooka and then after his last song spun announced Carrie Underwood and the whole crowd cheered and the lights went out.
As it was time for Carrie Underwood to make her grand entrance, setting the tone AC/DC’s Back in Black blared through the arena, fans where left guessing where she would appear. The lighting structure became moving video screens and formed a tiered tower as it descended. Underwood’s band magically emerged from each side of the stage rising on platforms from below beginning to play Renegade Runaway. The now formed tiered tower broke apart and there was the highly anticipated Carrie Underwood. Centre stage, suspended mid-air Carrie’s powerful voice echoed through the arena. She then continued into a set of her sassy rockin’-stompin’ energized hits. From the moment she was lowered and her feet hit the ground she began to strut her amazing high-heeled self around that stage. Before disappearing for the first of many costume changes Underwood powerfully belted her latest hit single Church Bells, it was unreal as her voice rang throughout the arena.
Lowered below the stage leaving her band now elevated on platforms playing, she retuned rising on top of a jukebox laden with sparklers to Cowboy Casanova. One from my list of favourites is Heartbeat, Carrie sang this so beautifully to what looked like a disco ball shining and scattering light through the arena. Then into what she said is one of her favourites to do at a show, one of her original hits,
Jesus Take the Wheel and asked the crowd to join her and sing along. This is one of her songs that showcases her powerful pipes. She then sang Wasted before disappearing again.
Emerging in a beautiful flowing dress Undwerwood again on my list of favourites sang two power hits Blown Away and Two Black Cadillacs. She then said it was time to play some of the new stuff from The Storyteller album and went right into another two story-songs of affairs. One of my favourite parts of the show was Carrie showing off her harmonica skills to the sultry Choctaw Country Affair.
Carrie after being sent back down below arose back on stage by herself on a stool and shared with us her love of country music and its story-telling capability. Then paying tribute to one of her idols Dolly Parton eloquently spoke about her then said “Let’s sing some Dolly” she had the audience captivated by her goosebumps heartfelt rendition of I Will Always Love you. Keeping in this beautiful tender moment she then walked across the stage and sat upon a piano and sang What I Never Knew I Always Wanted while pictures of her and her husband and baby Isaiah flashed upon the screen.
It was time to kick it back up and Carrie was joined on stage by Easton Corbin and The Swon Brothers to the boot stompin’ Fishin’ in the Dark by Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. They looked like they were having so much fun on stage together and the crowd loved it as we sang along. She kept it high key with American Girl and had Carrie’s Cam out filming the audience. Finishing up the main-set with Little Toy Guns and Before He Cheats.
Carrie returned to the stage for the final time again in mid-air strumming on her guitar to Smoke-Break. She then closed out with Something in The Water enveloped in what looked like a waterfall, it was a beautiful finish to an incredible night. The whole performance was a stunning, flawless spectacle and encompasses everything that is truly Carrie Underwood. She truly is a musical Storyteller.