Back in the day when I used to watch American Idol, I saw this little country girl come out of nowhere and dominate the show from start to finish. No matter how many people cannot stand Simon Cowell, many of his predictions about talented people in show business are uncannily right on target. From the very start he said she would be one of the favorites to win, and after her performance during the top eleven finalist’s show he predicted that she would not only win but that she would go on to outsell all previous Idol winners.
I think one of the things that impressed me most about Carrie Underwood as I watched her rise to fame during and after Idol is her “sweetness”. To me she came across as this sweet girl with no false pretenses or airs. And then there was that voice! An amazing voice that allows her to cover a range of styles with no apparent effort.
Well, last week I was given the opportunity to see Carrie live in concert here in Jacksonville (Jax), Florida. What an unexpected treat that was. My friend Carol had secured two tickets way back in the spring of this year so that she and her daughter could go and see the show together. At the last minute Carol’s daughter could not attend and so she offered me the ticket – as long as I did the night driving in downtown Jax. Now that’s what I call a bargain!
So off we headed to grab a bite to eat and then on to the Jacksonville Memorial Arena. I have seen a couple of shows at this venue in the past few years and they were good but nothing spectacular. Little did I know that was about to change. There were two opening acts before Carrie: Sons of Sylvia (watch out for them in the future, they are three extremely talented young brothers who I believe will go BIG on the country scene), and Billy Currington (already well known in country circles). The stage setting for both was pretty simple and pretty standard for a basic opening act.
That all changed when Carrie took the stage. I was expecting a good show from her because I know she is talented and has made a real name for herself since winning Idol. However, I was totally unprepared for the next two hours. The stage settings were fabulous to say the least. Carrie literally exploded onto the stage with both her voice and her presence. She is such a class act. I was completely amazed by the show that she put on. The word “professional” just does not cover it. “Consummate professional” comes a little closer.
Her warmth and genuineness as she interacted with the audience was tangible. She puts her whole heart and soul into her singing and it’s obvious she is also having a lot of fun. Her style in both the clothes she wore and her comportment and attitudes was just top notch. It was very obvious that her band adores her and loves working with her. She is still the sweet country girl she always was but now she has a lot of polish with it. She carries no fancy airs and even openly yet appropriately talked about her faith and God. I came away from the evening somehow feeling a little better about myself.
If you ever get the opportunity to go see her live, please do so. I do not think you will be disappointed. I am not exactly a big fan of country music but my experience with Carrie last week may just have changed that.