Carrie Underwood has enjoyed a degree of success beyond the average American Idol winner. She has proven time and again that she has staying power, and her performance Saturday night at Bridgeport’s Webster Bank Arena was strong reminder.
Underwood’s performances aren’t much in terms of dancing about the stage. In fact it is imaginable that dancing would be difficult in the various stiletto heels she wore throughout the concert.
What Underwood does do is sing, and she does it well. From belting out hits to her graceful ballads, it would be hard to forget that her voice is the determining factor of her stay of popularity.
Yet there was far more to this concert than just her singing. From what this reviewer last saw of her performing, in late 2010 at MGM Grand, the stage design was simple. A few batteries of lights, the backing band shrouded in darkness, that was all.
But then that was an amphitheater, and this was an arena. There’s a different level you can reach with an arena concert, and in that regard Underwood’s stage show was one of the most spectacular in recent memory.
In addition to the giant background monitor, there were three large screens that shifted throughout the show. The screens showed various videos throughout the concert, from exploding light bulbs to caricature silhouettes of Underwood rolling in a field with puppies.
Then there was the balloon ride.
After romping through Cowboy Casanova, an elevator carried Underwood beneath the stage (one of several times this happened). There seemed to be more roadies running out on stage than normal, hooking up wires connected to the ceiling of the arena.
Upon returning to stage, Underwood took a simulated balloon ride across the arena on a suspended stage. At one point she tossed leis from the platform, and enormous beach balls came out of nowhere to be tossed around the crowd.
Then there was the touchstone motif of the impending storm, falling in line with the “Blown Away” theme. Videos during wardrobe change interludes returned to this theme regularly, culminating in Underwood’s final encore, a performance of the tour’s namesake song. The set ended with a cyclone of paper leaves erupting from the center of the stage.
Though only the second night of the tour, it was clear that a lot of production time, effort, and money went into this spectacular set.
The Blown Away tour makes a return to Connecticut in two months, at the XL Center in Hartford Nov. 10.
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