Carrie Underwood’s first harmonica solo on the bluesy “Choctaw County Affair” in front of a packed Bridgestone Arena in Nashville on Thursday (Sept. 22) made one fan in Section 108 go wild.
That’s when Underwood — wearing a sheer flowing skirt and a severe-looking black bodice that resembled armor — ripped into a fiery harp battle with one of her bandmates on the Storyteller song. Between blows, she stomped her sparkling black booties to the swampy guitar while she sang of a scandalous affair involving blackmail, murder and the law. Sirens Jeannie C. Riley and Bobbie Gentry would have been proud of the mic-dropping moment.
“Choctaw County Affair” was among the night’s more dramatic performances as Underwood brought the Storyteller tour to the home of the hockey team her husband plays for, the Nashville Predators. No matter where she strutted on the 360-degree stage, she was surrounded by adoring fans who witnessed a master in action on one of the year’s most athletic arena tours. From the moment Underwood set foot onstage, she meant business working through her five-act, 22-song set in heels and five wardrobe changes, with each look more impressive than the next.
Every note was flawless from Act II’s “Jesus Take the Wheel,” through Dolly Parton’s “I Will Always Love You” and her soaring encore of “Smoke Break” and the Grammy-winning “Something in the Water.”
Before her motherhood anthem, “What I Never Knew I Always Wanted,” the sight of families having fun with their kids in the audience moved her to tears.
“I’d like to dedicate this song to all the moms in this room and their families,” she said. “I want to say a special thanks to the support systems that moms have in their lives. I love seeing families come to our shows and just have a good time and sing along with us. Those support systems [mean so much] specifically to me and my husband Mike, your captain.”
The mention of the Nashville Predator made the Preds fans in the room erupt in applause.
“Thank you so much for just being there,” she added. “There’s no way I’m going to make it through this song.”
Then she sang to the tops rafters as a montage of personal family photos flashed on the mega screens hanging overhead.
Next the set went classic country with a cover of the Alabama smash “Mountain Music” featuring concert openers Easton Corbin and the Swon Brothers.
During “All-American Girl,” she caught a few grown country gentlemen singing along to all the words as she made her way around the stage filming footage with a bedazzled camera.
The concert ended with an encore of “Smoke Break” and the Grammy-winning “Something in the Water.”
After the show, Underwood hosted a private after-party for invited guests in an area backstage that’s usually reserved for national tour rehearsals and award show press rooms.
With a golden sparkly CU wristband, her guests had access to a tented space with at least three full bars, custom caricature portraits, a tower of IveyCake cupcakes and a buffet of assorted cheeses, fruits, hummus spreads and roasted vegetables. A food truck offered vegetable Bánh mì, mini black bean burgers, hamburger sliders and mini chicken sandwiches.
The room was crawling with Music Row talent, including Kelsea Ballerini, Mickey Guyton and rising artist Electra Mustaine.
Freshly dressed in black street clothes, Underwood joined the party later to raise a toast to one helluva Nashville night.