October 20, 2012

Carrie Underwood Concert Review

WOW.WOW.WOW.WOW. WOW. Carrie Underwood has done it again; she never ceases to amaze me at just how talented she is, and with every headlining tour, she just gets better and better. I skipped my creative writing class, just in case something ultra exciting with Hunter Hayes or Carrie took place at our radio station. Unfortunately, it did not, so I lounged around the house getting ready.

A little before 4 o'clock, my mom and I started getting ready and headed off to put gas in the car, then had lunch/dinner at Chic-Fil-A. The anticipation was really starting to build then, and I was starting to yammer on about who knows what. I tend to talk a lot and fast when I'm nervous or excited. After we finished eating, we realized we didn't really have as much time as we'd anticipated, but still had plenty of time. We drove to Rabobank Arena, picked up our meet&greet passes at will call, then waited for Mina to take us to the designated area to meet Carrie.

We talked to a few people that were from the fan club, then we all lined up and headed inside. We made a quick stop at the merchandise table, where there was so much to choose from, that it was a good thing I was broke...Well, kind of. Everyone bought pictures, t-shirts, or whatever else they wanted and we were off to line-up. After only a few minutes of waiting, we reached the room which was dimly lit with "Blown Away" themed colors (i.e blue, gray, purple), with a few tables spread around topped with candles. There were a couple directors chairs with Carrie's name and "Blown Away Tour" written  on them, which I said would look quite nice in my room. It smelled of incense, and had a very (dare I say it) T-Party room vibe to it. There was a TV set up playing random Carrie videos or sketches of her and Brad Paisley hosting the CMA Awards. While we were waiting in line, I joked with my mom that I wanted Mina's job, the one who is in charge of the meet and greets, and is basically her assistant. I was like "Well, a meet and greet line is how Taylor Swift met her (former) backup singer, Liz!" My mom added, "It's also how Kevin met Danielle (Married To Jonas)" To which I added, "Technically, it's how Carrie met Mike, even though it was a mutual friend with Mark." One of these days, something really magical is going to happen for me in a meet and greet line, and it won't just be to meet a celebrity! HA! The people before us went, then all of a sudden it was my turn to meet Carrie.

I walked around the corner, where the curtain background was set up, and there was Carrie. I'm still always speechless at how flawless the girl always looks. She shook my hand, and we said hi to one another. I was really hoping she would remember me again, but if she did, she didn't say anything. I stood there for a minute, not really knowing whether I should wait for her to look up or what, then I just started talking. The meet and greet was a lot more rushed than usual, so the whole thing happened extremely fast. When we got out, it was a bit of a blur. Neither one of us could've told you the shirt color she was wearing. My mom said gray, and I was thinking white (as you can see in the picture, it is black. We were wrong). I don't think she really had time to look at anyone either the way it was moving, haha. Here's how the conversation went in script form:

Me: So, are you guys watching any TV shows on the bus this time around? I know it's usually like Grey's Anatomy or something like that? (While she's signing my picture)
Carrie: I'm a really big fan of The Walking Dead, so we're into that
Me: Oh, that's right! You're a zombie fan!
Carrie: (She said something agreeing with me, but I can't exactly remember what, then she immediately stood off to the side, posing for the picture, so I followed)
Me: (After we took the picture, I glanced over to the side table to see that the gift bag I'd brought in earlier had been set aside, and I had planned to give it to her) Oh yeah, I was going to ask you if you wanted to wear what we got you tonight, (pointed towards my mom) She's a moderator on your site.
Carrie: (Sort of gives a deer in the headlights look) Uh, it depends on what it is!
Me: I promise it's not anything crazy or weird! (my mom also says something along those lines)
(Her people hand her the bag, and I'm not really sure whether she's going to open it or not)
Carrie: Let's see what it is (she continues to pull it out  to see a "Bakersfield Sound" shirt) Oh, Bakersfield Sound! Cool! (For some reason I said it out loud with her like she wouldn't get it..Dumb me! LOL)
Me: I thought you could wear when you're on the stage above the audience. I know sometimes you wear things that represent that town or whatever...
Mom: We thought you could wear it on the raft stage (just clarifying what I'd said...)
Carrie: Okay, yeah. I'll have to try it on and we'll see how it fits and everything! Thank you!
I moved off to the side, so my mom could make her way in for her time with Carrie.
Me: Thank you!
The shirt we bought her!

Autograph! I wanted to have her write, "You shine like a diamond, glitter like gold..." But, there didn't seem to be enough time for that! Maybe next time..LOL
My mom talked to her a few minutes, telling her how she had been a moderator on her site for three years now, and also how she had to make sure that she didn't schedule her surgery for the time of the concert. Carrie said, "I hope it was nothing serious like an appendicitis or anything," with this worried face. My mom reassured her that it wasn't; they took their picture, and Carrie continued to thank her for everything. We finished up, said goodbye to her security guard, and the security in the hallway pointed us in the direction to find our seats. We found them with no problem, and waited for the show to begin.

Hunter Hayes was her opening act, and I couldn't have been more thrilled. Hunter is such a musical genius; he plays basically every instrument, writes his own stuff, and he's a true visionary for everything that he's doing. I call him the male version of Taylor Swift, just a couple years younger. But, he has the maturity of someone who has probably been in the business at least ten or so years. I saw him perform at CMA Fest over the summer, and he was seriously a big highlight for me. After seeing his performance of "Wanted", where the entire stadium of LP Field was involved, I became an even bigger fan of his. What a lot of people don't know is he has been around in the business for most of his life, even having written "Play" for Rascal Flatts. He was just as good last night; singing his radio hits and a few of his other catchier melodies that had people bobbing their heads along, and feeling the music. I don't think it'll be too long before he's headlining shows of his own...This kid's going to be BIG!
However, during most of Hunter's set, I was trying to figure out what setting to use so the pictures wouldn't come out horrible. By the time I started finding something that would work, he was almost finished. There were a few decent pictures, though.

There was a short intermission between Hunter and Carrie, of course. My dad made it just in time! We filled him in on the details of the meet and greet, though it was extremely hard to hear, because the music was blaring in there. We saw a few people from church that we knew, which was cool! It seems like concerts always bring the entire community out, basically. Then, the arena lights went out and Carrie made her entrance to the stage.

Set List (If you don't want to know...Don't keep reading):
  1. Good Girl 
  2. Undo It
  3. Wasted
  4. I Told You So
  5. Two Black Cadillacs
  6. Last Name 
  7. All American Girl
  8. Temporary Home
  9. Jesus Take The Wheel (I miss the days when she would sing How Great Thou Art with it)
  10. Cowboy Casanova
  11. Get Out Of This Town
  12. Nobody Ever Told You
  13. Thank God For Hometowns
  14. Crazy Dreams
  15. Do You Think About Me
  16. One Way Ticket
  17. Leave Love Alone (Duet with Hunter Hayes)
  18. Sweet Emotion
  19. Remind Me
  20. Cupid's Got A Shotgun
  21. Before He Cheats
  22. **Encore** I Know You Won't 
  23. **Encore** Blown Away

It wouldn't be a Carrie Underwood show without costume changes, and there were plenty of them! The cool thing about this tour wardrobe is that she said she doesn't plan on wearing the same thing twice. There are a lot of mix and match pieces so she can switch it up every night! The awesome factor doesn't just stop there, either. Her graphics and effects are fantastic this time. Her Play On tour had a lot of great elements, but I think they just built on from there this time around. Everything had such a constant flow to it, and went along perfectly with the title track, and the rest of the music. 

I couldn't think of a better title for this tour, other than what it is, "Blown Away," because that's exactly what you are after seeing this show! My favorite part of the concert was the floating stage above the audience. It was going to be the moment of truth as to whether she had decided to wear the shirt I'd given or not. I was afraid she'd walk out and I'd be disappointed that she'd chosen something else...When I saw the yellow of the Bakersfield sign from a distance. I was freaking out that she had actually worn it! I definitely teared up, and my parents and I looked at each other, like "Wow!" What do you say to something like that?! Looking at this picture, I still can't believe it actually happened. Then, right before she sang "Thank God For Hometowns," she talked about how cool it is to know you have somewhere like your hometown to rely on when things are crazy, and mentioned all of us from Bakersfield. I might complain about it here a lot, or that I don't want to be stuck here the rest of my life, but in that moment, I don't think I'd ever been more proud to be a "Bakersfieldian." 

Not only was it the best part of the show, because she wore my shirt, but because a lot of my favorite songs were in this segment. Her last song, "One Way Ticket" is always such a blast to hear live! It's one that she really lets loose on, and so does the crowd. There were beach balls flying all around, confetti falling to the ground, and everyone was waving their arms around like they didn't have a care in the world. I think it was a lot more natural for her to do some of the more "cutesy" songs, and made everyone else just smile. 

The rest of the concert was honestly a blur, because I couldn't get over the fact that she had worn the shirt, which probably sounds lame, but I was extremely excited! She sang several more songs, then came back out for the encore after minutes of chanting "Carrie! Carrie! Carrie!" She returned in her Blown Away dress, with the background designed as if we were in Kansas and a twister was about to hit. She sang a slow song, then knocked it out of the park with Blown Away. Her vocals get better and better every time. After the thunder stopped rolling, lighting stopped flashing, and the last confetti had fallen to the ground, Carrie said goodbye for the last time, and exited the stage. What a blast! It was certainly a night I will never forget.

After the concert ended, and we made our way to the front entrance, I was dying of thirst and so ready to get out. But, my mom wanted to make one last trip to the merch table. I ran into one of our good family friends, Mandy, and she told us all about her eventful night in the show. They'd gotten beer poured on them, because they wanted to stand up for a couple songs. CRAZY! I filled her in on meeting Carrie and all that jazz, and she left a few minutes later. After waiting awhile in line, my mom got a Carrie shirt and phone cover, while I got a Hunter Hayes shirt. We walked back to the car and drove my dad over to his parking lot, then headed home.

I was on a buzz the rest of the night. I watched an episode of The Vampire Diaries, and tried to call it a night, but it just wasn't working. Everything that had happened just kept running through my head, and I couldn't wait to see my meet and greet photo, which I got this afternoon. Around 2:30 or so, after flipping through the TV channels and a few dozen tosses and turns, I was finally able to fall asleep. 

Thank you, Carrie Underwood, for yet another incredible memory for the books!

That's all for now,

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