Over the last 12 years Carrie Underwood has transformed from American Idol winner to the reigning Queen of Country music. With a string of number 1 singles to her name and several multi-platinum albums, Underwood is without a doubt one of the biggest Country music stars in the industry today. She’s successfully shaken off the reality show tag and is a credible artist with one of the strongest voices, not only in Country, but in any genre. Last night she returned to C2C: Country to Country to headline Day 2 on the main stage, having previously headlined the festival in its first year.
Arriving on the stage a little after 9pm, Underwood launched into Renegade Runaway from her Storyteller album. The energy was high and the vocals were flawless; two things I’ve come to expect from any performance by Underwood. The set list for the night was a slightly adapted version of her US Storyteller tour and managed to pack in a remarkable 21 songs for her close to two hour set.
Underwood has always been a pretty fearless performer and she’s not one of those artists that tries to dodge the difficult notes. Quite how she manages to maintain such a high level of vocal ability for such a long period of time is baffling. In the second half of the set Underwood performed a cover of the Dolly Parton classic I Will Always Love You, which she introduced by saying she’s no Dolly and she’s no Whitney. Vocally she may be different to both but artistically she should be categorised alongside them as vocal was truly stellar.
Sam Hunt joined Underwood on stage for Heartbeat, a song that he provides backing vocals for on the studio version. The moment was one of the best of the night and it whipped Hunt’s fans back into a frenzy after they only just calmed down from his earlier main stage performance.
Elsewhere in the set Underwood played the harmonica on the moody Choctaw County Affair and strapped on a guitar for her recent single Smoke Break. She’s clearly starting to grow as a musician as well as a singer and a songwriter, and she admitted earlier in the day to the press that she’d be up for learning pretty much any instrument.
For the most part Underwood’s set was a storming collection of uptempo numbers. Fan favourite Flat on the Floor was one change from the original Storyteller set list as was the inclusion of album track Chaser. Underwood got the biggest reactions on her distantly related hits Last Name, which was fused with her Miranda Lambert collaboration Somethin’ Bad, and revenge tale Before He Cheats. It would seem the audience love nothing better than Underwood turning from good girl to wild girl.
The set came to a close with a powerful performance of Something in the Water, a song included on her Greatest Hits album. Even after singing 20 songs, most of which included powerful belts and remarkable range, Underwood still sounded like she was opening her mouth for the first time that night. She truly is a masterful singer and she could teach some of her screechier contemporaries a thing or two.
Underwood’s return to C2C was nothing short of triumphant. She’s clearly amassed a huge fan base here in the UK and she never fails to deliver in a live setting. She’s got so many hits and so much material to choose from now, her set list never gets boring. Underwood brings a lot of energy to her performance and her flawless vocals set her apart from pretty much everyone else in the industry. She really is a very special talent.
Set List: 1. Renegade Runaway 2. Last Name/Somethin’ Bad 3.Undo It 4. Good Girl 5. Church Bells 6. Cowboy Casanova 7. Heartbeat 8. Jesus, Take The Wheel 9. Wasted 10. Chaser 11. Blown Away 12. Two Black Cadillacs 13. Dirty Laundry 14. Choctaw County Affair 15. I Will Always Love You 16. Clock Don’t Stop 17. Flat on the Floor 18. Little Toy Guns 19. Before He Cheats 20. Smoke Break 21. Something in the Water Performance Date: Saturday 12th March 2016