I wasn’t planning on writing a review of Miranda Lambert’s “On Fire” tour at the University of Amherst’s Mullins Center, as I’d just been planning on going for fun and didn’t want to focus on evaluating it. But after the concert, I realized that I absolutely had to write a review. Because if you enjoy Country music in the slightest, this is a show that you truly need to see.
Jerrod Niemann opened the performance, but he lacked energy. Granted, he was the first performer onstage and the stadium was only half-full at that point. Still, I thought he could have interacted more with the audience. Although Niemann signed autographs and touched hands with audience members closest to the stage, he didn’t do much to draw in those in the actual stadium seating. Niemann was upstaged by the following performer Chris Young, whose stage presence and energy were phenomenal. His voice was purely effortless, and had the same thick and rich
quality live as it does in his recordings. He was pitch-perfect, and after having heard him sing his set, I would gladly go see him in concert.
Lambert herself was full of energy, pep, and fire. During the course of the concert she played her pink electric and acoustic guitars and even picked up a tambourine for a while. Her performance of the ever-popular “Kerosene” was incredibly energetic despite the fact that she’s likely performed it hundreds of times. She was eager to tell of her time spent with Lady Gaga at the Grammy’s. Strutting around the stage in a silvery grey dress and cowgirl boots, Lambert’s presence was pure, genuine Country, and during the entire performance she only left the stage for about a minute, never even bothering with a costume change.
At the start of “Gunpowder and Lead,” Lambert was thrilled to see a fan holding up a neon yellow sign reading, “Take Notes Chris Brown.” Lambert took the sign from her and posed with it, encouraging everyone to take pictures, and explaining that she’d been in “a bit of trouble lately” with Chris Brown. Lambert stated that she was raised to believe that a man should never beat up on a woman (to great response from the crowd) – so her dad taught her to shoot a shotgun when she was a young girl. Her performance of “Gunpowder and Lead” was highly energetic with Lambert carrying the sign around with her for a good portion of it.
For all of her pumped-up party songs, Lambert slowed it down beautifully with “The House That Built Me,” sung to a background of starry-like lights and a slideshow of snapshots of her childhood in the background. And if “Over You” didn’t make anyone teary, Lambert’s introduction to the song sure did: she explained that she and husband Blake Shelton had written the song in memory of Shelton’s brother, who died as a child.
Lambert’s performance was genuine, full of energy and enthralling. Her stage presence was wonderful and she poured true emotion into every song. She was vocally powerful, never taking the easy way out. She changed her melodies up enough to keep them vocally interesting, constantly injecting the songs with her attitude and personality. Lambert clearly enjoys every moment of performing and creates a wonderful concert experience.