By: Kevin Rolfe
We’ve had a few canceled or postponed shows in Utah in the last few months. Some due to weather, and some due to illness. The latter is the case for Country Music superstar, Miranda Lambert. From what I read on social media, Ms. Lambert became under the weather and wasn’t comfortable performing with her voice in the state it was in. It’s disappointing when a show needs to be postponed, but I admire Miranda for wanting to give her fans the best show possible. This performance was well worth the wait.
As I walked into Vivint Arena Independent Country artist, Cody Johnson was entertaining the thousands of fans already in attendance. I enjoyed his passion and it was obvious how much he loved performing his music. Many people were up dancing, and there were even a few couples doing some western swing.
Cody shared with the audience that it was his dream to be a bull rider. And before he ever got into music, that was his career. It was bittersweet that he needed to stop riding, sharing that many of his friends are still in the business. He performed what he called his favorite song he’s written, “Dear Rodeo”. He stated that maybe God had a plan for him to do Country Music all along. The audience loved it and he left the stage leaving his mark on the Utah crowd.
The wait for Miranda fans was finally over. People rushed to their seats as the lights went out and her band took the stage. As the lights rose on the stage, the setup looked quite simple. Just a Miranda Lambert logo backdrop and lights. It looked like something you’d see at a state fair. I had no problem with it. I thought, “Keeping things simple, cool.”. But I was mistaken because not long into the set, the backdrop was pulled away to reveal three huge screens. That was more like what I had in mind.
The first thing I noticed was Miranda’s voice. I’m not sure if I was subconsciously curious because the whole reason she rescheduled was due to her being unable to sing or if her voice just sounded so good that it stood out. But her voice sounded great! This was my first time seeing Miranda Lambert live and I understood immediately why people enjoy her music. The girl can sing! She really popped on that stage with her amazing teal tassels on the sleeves of her shirt. As Miranda sang, the crowd was having a great time. The back of the General Admission was lively with people dancing and drinking.
Lambert didn’t say anything more than “Thank You” to the crowd through the first five songs. She plowed through favorites such as, “White Trash”, “Mess With My Head”, and “Famous in a Small Town”. When she finally addressed the audience she apologized for the inconvenience of a couple weeks back. But, “we’re going to party like it’s the weekend!”. The original date was supposed to take place on a Friday night. The new date was on a Tuesday. I did notice that while the General Admission was feeling the weekend vibes, it took the rest of the crowd a little while to get going. Don’t get me wrong, they were into it, but there is a very distinct difference between a Tuesday and a Friday concert. I think Miranda saying that we were going to party like it was the weekend inspired the crowd to go for that.
A couple major highlights for me were Miranda Lambert’s cover of Fleetwood Mac’s “Say You Love Me” and her hit “The House That Built Me”. First off, I really like Fleetwood Mac, and I think Christine McVie’s songs are totally underrated. So I’m sure you can imagine how delighted I was when Lambert performed this song. I noticed that I wasn’t the only one who was excited to hear this cover. I thought Miranda’s voice fit the song really well, and her extremely talented band did the song justice.
“The House That Built Me” was the song that acquainted me with Ms. Lambert. It’s a heartfelt song that while not written by Lambert is performed in such a heartfelt and personal way that it feels autobiographical. Regardless, it’s a song that I think touches her fans in a nostalgic way and gives them a moment in the concert to pause and reflect on their life, and just how far along Miranda has come since that Grammy Award Winning single was released.
There was this interesting moment in the show when all of a sudden things turned up a few notches. I’m not sure anything specific happened, I think people were finally able to shake their workweek weariness or something because the place became alive. Where people were bobbing their heads and clapping along, they now were up dancing and no longer holding back in any way. There were groups of baby boomers group hugging and singing the songs. There was a group in the GA section that was line dancing, while another group close by were taking their turn swing dancing. it was a huge party in Vivint Arena.
I would be remiss if I didn’t mention in more detail Miranda Lambert’s band. They were so talented! I have been unable to locate their names but Lambert’s woman backup singer was incredible. Like, could be a solo artist incredible. She had a few moments where she soloed and she received a loud ovation each time. Then there was the keyboard player who quietly played in the background, then all of a sudden he busts out this soulful amazing voice in the cover of Joe Cocker’s “Feelin’ Alright”. I mean the talent was so deep, a roadie came on stage and sang a line from the song and he was amazing! Each and every member of this band stood out for their abilities. Miranda’s got herself a stellar band.
Miranda thanked the crowd again for spending their hard-earned money on country music. She seemed to really appreciate the crowd waiting for her to get healthy so she could come back and perform for us. She told the audience that whatever they came to the show with, she hoped she was able to help them. At minimum, she helped us forget that it was a Tuesday night, at most, she healed a little hurt that someone was feeling before that show.
The night ended with Cody Johnson and Lanco (first opener) returning to the stage and singing Travis Tritt’s hit, “It’s a Great Day to Be Alive”. I was happy that Lanco came out because I was disappointed to have missed their set. The song was the perfect ending to a really fun night. Miranda Lambert is a really straight forward no-nonsense performer with an excellent voice. I’m glad she waited on performing for us so that she could give us her best.