Sept. 08--From the moment the curtain dropped and Miranda Lambert was standing at center stage with a pink guitar and her band, she owned Friday night at Verizon Wireless Amphitheater.
Whether she was thrashing and tossing her long blond hair to up-tempo tunes such as "Kerosene" or bringing tears to some eyes with ballads such as "Over You" and "All Kinds of Kinds," the reigning female vocalist of the year gave a fine display of the best of what country music currently offers.
The east Texas native also proved she can rock with anyone as she jammed on her guitar and gave impressive covers of "Fire Down Below" and "Get Back."
Only three women are current headliner acts in country music -- Lambert, Carrie Underwood and Taylor Swift (who is far more of a pop princess these days). Of the three, Lambert's feisty stage presence, freewheeling spirit and superb songwriting skills put her at the head of the pack.
Before launching into "All Kinds of Kinds," which Lambert wrote, she told the crowd to love themselves as they are -- "whether you're skinny or you have a little extra, like me" as she grabbed her midsection.
What she has a little extra of is talent, proven as she went back to her early hits such as "Me and Charley Talking" and her roaring cover of the abused women's anthem, "Gunpowder and Lead."
One of the most moving moments of the night was her slowed-down performance of "The House That Built Me," which she sang as photos of little girl Miranda with her parents and brother flashed on the video screen.
And Lambert got strong backing from her five-piece band, getting laughs early on when acoustic and electric guitar man Scotty Wray messed up an intro and she stopped, named him as the culprit, then chuckled and moved on. It's live music, people -- no big deal.
Women in the crowd sang along to every word of "Mama's Broken Heart," especially the lines "hide your crazy and start acting like a lady."
Her 90-minute, 18-song set highlighted why she has toted home awards by the wheelbarrow-load of late -- she's earned them.
She could not have found better opening support than Dierks Bentley, who ripped around the stage for 13 high-energy songs such as "What Was I Thinkin," "5-1-5-0," and "Feel That Fire."
A highlight of his show was when the band and Bentley went to a riser at the top of the stage to deliver "Up on the Ridge," the title cut from his grossly underappreciated bluegrass album of 2010.
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