Friday, April 20, 2012
Concert review: Sugarland at WinStar World Casino (April 19)
The multi-platinum duo made their fans feel like friends.
Big hair and cowboy boot-wearing women (the kind you might find in GCB) seemed to flock to the WinStar World Casino in Thackerville, Oklahoma to catch the entertaining country duo Sugarland. The giant concert hall was filled with Southern belles toting homemade posters covered with song titles for the “In Your Hands” tour – a nationwide tour dedicated to song requests from the crowd, instead of the usual set list built by the band. Animated lead singer Jennifer Nettles and multi-instrumentalist Kristian Bush were more than comfortable with the risky task, and they collected all of the posters in sight and dove in headfirst.
The superstar duo has seen some hard times in the past year, currently still fighting a lawsuit involving the Indiana State Fair stage collapse that killed seven people and injured dozens more last August during their show. But Thursday's show was invigoratingly spirited. The Georgia group, complete with a five-piece backing band, focuses their lyrics on the better things in life. Nettles and Bush were all smiles throughout the set, encouraging crowd interaction and togetherness despite the vastness of the enormous room.
Nettles, outfitted in white and orange striped pants resembling an adorable circus performer, scurried across the stage, through every mainstream hit, with casual spunk. Her syrupy country twang played right into her belting voice, which hit us like a powerful gust of wind on a hot Texas day. Her undeniably powerful chords gave each of their pop-country tracks the signature bubbliness fans have come to know. Songs like “Stuck Like Glue” and “Baby Girl” closed the gaps in the massive room.
Early on in the set, they signed one of Bush’s acoustic guitars and gave it to a lucky fan of his choosing. The group’s attention to their fans was more than commendable; a multi-platinum country band of this magnitude doesn’t need to rely on these kinds of interactions for success. By the end of the night, they hit the Oklahoma casino’s sweet spot, sending fans that made the road trip home with pep in their boot-wearing step.
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