On May 23rd, Carrie Underwood‘s Blown Away Tour concluded at the Abbotsford Entertainment and Sports Centre. Her first international tour ran from May 2012 to May 2013 throughout cities in North America, Europe, and Australia, with plenty of sold out shows (100% sold out in 2013 alone!) among the 100+ dates. This is yet another impressive achievement to add to the American Idol turned country music superstar’s incredible resume, which includes sixteen million album sales worldwide, sixteen #1 hit singles, and six Grammy Awards.
When Carrie first came to Vancouver for her Play On Tour in 2010, I was enchanted by her tremendous talents as a live performer. She transcends the country music genre with a mix of a bit of pop and a dash of rock, all while still maintaining her roots as the classy and charismatic princess of Country. After that experience, I was instantly elevated from the status of a casual listener to a being a full-blown enthusiast of her music!
Back again in B.C. for the Blown Away Tour, Carrie now exudes more energy, range, and artistic vision in a show that is as electrifying and emotionally-charged as her latest album, Blown Away. Her 100 minute set consists of a whirlwind of her career-spanning hits from her records, Play On, Carnival Ride, and Some Hearts. The slick five act concert production (complete with wardrobe changes, elaborate staging, and lots of weather-related imagery and effects) showcased her powerhouse vocals, shining stage presence, and sweet and sassy performance style.
Opening with a scene from the music video for “Blown Away“, which plays like a dark twist on The Wizard of Oz, Carrie (in a stunning white, feathery gown) emerged from behind a door to the intro of “Good Girl“. She certainly started things off with a bang, cementing two showstoppers early on with the strikingly dark and dramatic “Two Black Cadillacs” and a stirring rendition of her latest single, “See You Again” (during which Carrie got a little choked up, no doubt thinking about the meaning of the song and the memories of this tour that was about to end). This first act effectively set the tone for the evening, as she blazed through uptempo numbers (“Undo It“) and slowed it down with sentimental mid-tempo songs and heartfelt ballads (“Wasted“). These anthems of a woman scorned (and seeking revenge) and of offering words of warning to other women, along with the more sweet and tender message songs, are a few of Carrie’s signature themes.
After a quick change into a turquoise and purple-blue dress that resembled a blossoming bouquet of flowers, Carrie kicked off Act 2 with the saucy “Last Name“, dove into a pair of double ballads with “Temporary Home” and “Jesus, Take The Wheel“, and stomped around to the catchy “Cowboy Casanova“. The third act was a transition into an easy, breezy, summertime vibe (the calm before the storm, if you will) with Carrie and the band taking a mini vacation on a floating porch – a stage contraption that soared above the audience in a creative way to get Carrie to see her fans from all areas of the full stadium! Clad in a t-shirt, denim shorts, and cowboy boots, Carrie sang a few of her more light and fun songs, including “All-American Girl” (with the appropriate lyric changes to reflect the All-Canadian Girl’s love for hockey!) and the jammin’ “One Way Ticket“, and showered the audience with confetti and beach balls to keep the party flowing. For Act 4, Carrie, in electric blue pants and a metallic chained top, channeled her inner country-rocker with the fierce “Flat On The Floor“, and the smashing “Before He Cheats“. There were also pranks aplenty, as the band and crew pulled a few jokes (such as flying cupid arrows during “Cupid’s Got A Shotgun” and a crew member attempting a duet of “Leave Love Alone” with Carrie when it sounded more like very bad Carrie-oke) to celebrate the last night of the tour.
The encore was a mesmerizing and memorable grand spectacle of a grand finale, with Carrie delivering a heart-wrenching vocal of “I Know You Won’t” and culminating in a thunderous rendition of “Blown Away” amidst wind machines and a confetti tornado. It’s safe to say that fans were swept away by a force of nature!
Throughout the night, Carrie expressed her endless thanks to her fans for all of their support during this Blown Away era. After collecting $1 of every ticket sale along the tour to an organization close to her heart, she announced that a total of one million dollars will be donated to the Red Cross. In the wake of the devastating tornado that struck her home state of Oklahoma and the wave of disasters affecting people around the world in the past year, the Red Cross relief fund is a fitting and worthy cause to support.
It’s these inspirational gestures of giving back to the community that make Carrie Underwood the golden girl that she is. Graceful, grateful, and generous, Carrie is a true keeper!
Favourite moments: “See You Again”, “Two Black Cadillacs”, Act 3’s summertime party, “I Know You Won’t”, “Blown Away”
See You Again
Two Black Cadillacs
Jesus, Take The Wheel
Get Out Of This Town
Nobody Ever Told You
One Way Ticket
Leave Love Alone
Flat On The Floor
Remind Me (with Brad Paisley, via video)
Cupid’s Got A Shotgun
Before He Cheats
I Know You Won’t
Video by Brian Celic on YouTube.
All photos by yours truly! You can view all of my pictures from the show on Flickr.