Entertainment & Events

Carrie Underwood ‘Underwhelms’

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You know that feeling when you know an activity is going to be bad, but you do it anyway, and you find yourself asking, “Why?”

That was the exact situation I was in when I headed into the Carrie Underwood concert at the Valley View Casino Center (known colloquially to locals as ‘The Sports Arena’) on Friday, Sept. 16th.

Clearly, Carrie is as hot as ever, even after giving birth to a bouncing baby boy 19 months ago.  From gracing the Sunday Night Football intro with a whole new treatment, hosting awards shows and showing up on social media almost daily, Carrie is also in the midst of her new tour. So I decided to do my duty, take one for our Entertainer & Lifestyles Magazine readers and review the show.

Going in, there were already two red flags. The first one was the fact the concert was being performed ‘in the round’. If you never learn another thing from me, know this for a fact; it is never a good thing to attend anything ‘in the round’.

This should present a serious flag that it is not about the music, but instead showcasing the talents’ physical appearances and providing a social media opportunity for those in attendance. People nowadays are more concerned about ‘being there’ and showing their followers, than the actual experience itself. The stage was an oblong monstrosity, parts of which kept elevating up and down, not just facilitating Ms. Underwood’s multiple (and unnecessary) costume changes, but propelling her band up and down throughout the night.

The entire night was spent with Carrie strutting around in her various costumes, all of which were carefully orchestrated to show of her great legs. Meanwhile, she was constantly on the move, always seeming to be far away, with her back toward our section. I’m sure if she was wearing a FitBit, she’d have logged over five miles. Meanwhile, most of the time, my seat had one of her band members strutting around in my face. It wasn’t cool…

The second red flag was that Valley View has always had ridiculously bad acoustics and the stage setup would undoubtedly make them worse. And that was most assuredly true. Sports Arena Management supposedly spent money improving the sound in recent years, but still, there are only about 10 percent of the seats in the house where sound quality is even acceptable in a normal concert setup. But a concert ‘in the round’, combined with those crappy acoustics, made it an embarrassment. Even with a great seat provided by this magazine, (thanks to support from Atlas Tickets), it made one uncomfortable because it was literally impossible to hear Underwood, even when she was speaking and singing acapella. So there we had one of the absolute best voices in America, unable to be heard by her audience. It was shameful.

The experience was so much different from seeing Underwood in concert five years ago, when she produced a simpler, but brilliant show. I call it the ‘Taylor Swift’ effect. At one point, I counted well over half the people on the general admission floor (another abomination to discuss at another time) with their cameras pointed stage-ward, so when she happened to be in front of them, they could record their experience for posterity and of course, social media, letting all their followers know what a wonderful life they supposedly lead.

Life is, indeed good. This concert was not…

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