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Miranda Lambert's performance last night at Grand Casino Hinckley's amphitheater in Minnesota was phenomenal! She looks more comfortable on stage, her voice is stronger and more confident, and she performs with more energy each time I see her show, with this being my... sixth time!
As my first visit to the Grand Casino Hinckley amphitheater, I wasn't sure what to expect, but found it to be a great outdoor venue. Set on a giant concrete slab, the huge GA pit area where I had my tickets were (really..) expensive, but worth the cost as the floor benches and few small stadium risers in the far back would have been disappointing. It was a big enough stage to hold her pro-tour rigging and video screens, but small enough in scale to keep it from being impersonal.
I had the chance to meet Miranda before the show.. and it was a whirlwind. She's even teeny tinier than expected, but very sweet. I brought the Hell on Heelsrecord I scored on Record Store Day.. (one of a few copies released nationally that day) for her to sign, only to find they were selling it at merch. Ah, well. I asked her if “Janice” (her Minnesota accented alter-ego) would be making an appearance… which she did end up doing for us, many times! Too funny.
Raelynn (does she really only go by her first name? America didn't even know who she was 6 months ago.) opened up her second show for Miranda that night, performing what I presume are her original songs she's going to be releasing under her Republic Nashville record deal. It was embarrassing. I have expressed my opinions on her, and don't wish to say anything further.
By far, the Pistol Annies were the highlight of the show. This being my third opportunity to see them perform as a “feature” of Miranda's headlining set, I only wish they'd play longer. I think that there are few country artists with more natural talent, authenticity, and passion for the music like Ashley Monroe, Angaleena Pressley and Miranda. Ashley Monroe has one of the most glorious voices I have ever heard, and by no means am I exaggerating. When all three of them come together it is so obviously three close girlfriends, having fun, singing music they've written and music they love (Loretta Lynn, in this case..) which makes their performance so electrifying! If I had more time to speak with Miranda (I've come to find I'd rather interview her than meet 'n greet, imagine that..) I'd grill her about the next Pistol Annies project. I want to know what the new music sounds like, if they've co-written any music with other writers, if they're going to launch a headlining PA tour or book more solo gigs as an act, etc. I'm so ready for Pistol Annies to be more than a side project, but a full-on retro revival.
Miranda's band always sounds stellar, and are so fun to watch. Alex Weeden (won't lie, he's my favorite..) makes the world's best guitar faces, Scotty Wray is a wicked player, and Chris Kline is a master of so many different instruments it's just amazing to hear them play. No performer and band balances musicality and entertainment like Miranda Lambert and Co., with one not being sacrificed for the other. It makes for one hell of a great live show!
Miranda Lambert setlist: Fastest Girl in Town / Kerosene / Heart Like Mine / That's The Way That The World Goes Round / Over You / Baggage Claim / Dead Flowers / All Kinds of Kinds / [Pistol Annies] Hell on Heels / Bad Example / Fist City / Takin Pills [/] / Hoochie Koo / Famous In A Small Town / Only Prettier / Tell Me That Lie (with Raelynn) / Mama's Broken Heart / House That Built Me / Gunpowder & Lead / White Liar / [encore] King of the Road