Until Friday night, I’d never seen Miranda Lambert in concert, and this is a shame. Not only does Lambert boast one of the most impressive catalogs in country music over the past decade-plus, turns out she’s one hell of a performer to boot. She proved as much before a packed house at Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion in The Woodlands on Friday night. And she had some help.
Lambert is touring with Little Big Town as part of the Bandwagon Tour, and fans were treated to one of the better country shows you’ll see in 2018. The latter took the stage around 8:15 on Friday night and blasted through a 12-song, 45-minute setlist that included hits like “Better Man,” “Boondocks” and “Little White Church.”
Once Little Big Town exited stage left, lightning in the area put a 30-minute hold not only on the music, but on the concessions. Turns out, all concession stands shut down in the event of nearby lightning, so it was no surprise when the beer lines re-opened to a raucous applause.
Lambert, originally scheduled to take the stage around 9:25, instead appeared around 9:50 for a 15-song, hour-long set that showcased one of the most distinct voices in country music. Lambert can do badass (“Kerosene,” “Gunpowder and Lead”). She can be poignant (“All Kinds of Kinds”). And she can get real reflective in a hurry, as evidenced by tracks like “The House That Built Me.”
Yes, Lambert and Little Big Town wowed the crowd during their respective sets, but when the artists got together for a ten-song, 40-minute joint set to close out the show, the festivities kicked into a whole new gear. Little Big Town’s Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman joined Lambert for the smash Little Big Town single, “Girl Crush” before covering the likes of “Killing Me Softly” and the awesomeness that is the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl.”
Fellow Little Big Town members Jimi Westbrook and Phillip Sweet certainly had their moments on Friday night, but make no mistake. With Lambert, Fairchild and Schlapman showcasing their talents before a fired-up country crowd in The Woodlands, this show was for the ladies.
So, How was the Crowd?: When you attend a country concert in The Woodlands, you’re mostly going to run into one of two scenarios. You’ll either see couples – some of which are both happy to be at the concert; others of which feature one happy person and another who can safely be “labeled” accommodating. Or you’ll see groups of female friends, even bachelorette parties, looking to cut loose with a little country music on the weekend. And this is why country concerts often resonate, even for those who aren’t fans of the particular artist on state. Country fans, quite frankly, give a damn about their music.
Throwback Report: You’ll be sorry to hear I didn’t see one throwback jersey in the house on Friday night, nor something even more contemporary like that of a James Harden or Chris Paul. I did, however, see many a fishing shirt and jean mini-skirt.
Overheard in the Crowd: “Sing it, ladies!” – me, when Lambert and the ladies from Little Big Town teamed up for a cover of the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl”
Random Notebook Dump: Sometimes, particularly when a show is on a Friday night, people will take off the afternoon of the show and get down on a little pregame drinking. This is all well and good, so long as safe travel accommodations are made. But to those folks who got so drunk they had to be helped out of the pavilion on Friday night – and there were more than a few – come on now! … I’ve somehow seen Little Big Town in concert five times in the past decade … Covering Elton John is a great way to fire up a crowd … Save for the rain, the weather was surprisingly pleasant on Friday night.