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Carrie Underwood brings Nashville to Power Balance Pavilion

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Saturday night Power Balance Pavilion hosted country superstar Carrie Underwood and “The Blown Away Tour,” complete with singer and songwriter, Hunter Hayes. The tour is based around Underwood’s fourth album, “Blown Away,” released earlier this year.

The mostly-female crowd was dressed and ready for a country night out in Nashville – cowboy hats and boots and all.

“Is that the line to the women’s!?” I overheard one woman exclaim, “Mother of pearl!”

The merrymaking and revelry was pure entertainment for all involved.

Underwood won the hearts of many, waving and chatting throughout the show despite her slightly hoarse-sounding voice. She gave a shout out to “American Idol,” saying that she would always be thankful for the show and all it has helped her to achieve.

She sang her classics one after another, to the delight of the crowd. Fan favorites were those that most pulled the emotional heartstrings, “I Told You So,” “I Know You Won’t” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel.”

Of course her more feminist songs certainly riled the crowd as well. “Before He Cheats,” in particular, was one that everyone was waiting for. Throughout the bulk of her repertoire, it seemed that Underwood was giving lessons on life. Love, men, wasting your life away, home, even one-night stands; she touched on them all.

After witnessing the passion with which she sings, you might just consider going home, quitting your job and doing something you love.

It is obvious Underwood likes her sparkle. She used five different outfits during the show, three of them gowns and most giving off a fair amount of shimmer in the spotlight. Her Daisy Dukes and Willie Nelson t-shirt were the exception, but what else could she be wearing while throwing leis into the crowd and encouraging audience members to play with enormous beach balls while singing “One Way Ticket”?

Underwood made the most of what Power Balance Pavilion had to offer, sometimes disappearing in and out of the floor, moving five screens together and apart at different angles throughout the show, and later gliding through the air on a hanging stage with several of her musicians.

Hunter Hayes’ dreaded guitarist was almost as entertaining as the singer himself.

Hayes, who has been playing since age 4, is the opener for “The Blown Away Tour.” The crowd was enthusiastic, with fans singing along from song one. At times Hayes performed on both guitar and piano besides his lead vocals, which one might call Mraz-esque country.

Hayes’ self-titled album was released in October of 2011. His current single, “Somebody’s Heartbreak,” was well-received by the audience, though not in comparison to his No. 1 hit, “Wanted.” Near the end of the show Hunter pleased audience members by joining Underwood onstage for “Leave Love Alone.”

On the way in on Saturday evening, I happened to hear a few staff members muttering about the amount of pyrotechnics that would be used in the show. While pyrotechnics may not have been the right word, by the end of the final encore, I certainly understood what they meant. Underwood started and finished her tour with a tornado scene. The final scene ended with paper debris swirling around the stage and a flume of smoke enveloping Underwood as she sang “Blown Away.”

The tour continued to San Jose after Sacramento and will include three more shows in California this week – in Los Angeles, Bakersfield and San Diego – before heading back east. Visit the tour website for information on future shows or to purchase tickets.

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