Music City put on their ‘Denim & Rhinestones’ for Carrie Underwood’s Bridgestone takeover

Carrie Underwood amazes with spectacular vocals and special guests for her hometown stop on her “Denim & Rhinestones” tour.


Barrie Barto

Carrie Underwood strikes a pose as she comes up on stage, as photographed on March 1, 2023. (Hustler Multimedia/Barrie Barto)

Chloe Pryor, Staff Writer

Picture an eight-year-old girl belting her heart out to “Before He Cheats” having no clue what the song means. Attending the Carrie Underwood concert on March 1 was my eight-year-old self’s dream come true. Her music has always been a prominent feature on my late-night ride playlist and hearing her perform live proved why. With a wowing production and breathtaking vocals, Carrie Underwood held a sold-out arena’s attention for a two-hour show.

While most fans were at Bridgestone for Underwood, the opener was just as much of a draw. Jimmie Allen, a Grammy nominee, CMA winner and multi-platinum-selling country artist, is a natural onstage, and his vocals portrayed his comfort with the audience. His cowboy hat, platinum jacket and gold glittery guitar were eye-catching. At times, Allen alluringly sang to the audience with light guitar strumming in the background. The set list included hits like “Best Shot” and “Freedom Was a Highway.” His performance was solid from start to finish and prepared the crowd for the absolute insanity that was Underwood’s act.

Eight-year-old me dreamed of seeing Underwood live, but the concert topped even my wildest dreams. The lights dropped and “Ace of Spades” by Motörhead enveloped the arena. Underwood rose from under the stage and powered through her first song of the night “Good Girl.” The production was explosive from the start, from the lightning for “Blown Away” to the fire on the stage for “Burn.” Her many outfits were covered in rhinestones and sparkles, matching her set pieces, which ranged from all-red microphones to a swing adorned in flowers.

Underwood was an active performer, dancing and moving throughout the arena. On two separate occasions, she flew in the air like a country angel. For example, during “Ghost Story” she sat on a swing covered in flowers and traveled from the main stage to a stage across the venue. After a couple of heart-wrenching songs like “Garden” and “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” she returned to the main stage in a steel ball with pink angel wings behind her. She performed inside the sphere with gravity-defying lunges and leans. 

When she wasn’t defying gravity, Underwood displayed her instrumental talents as well. She played the guitar for two songs and surprisingly impressive drum skills. With her powerhouse vocals, instrumental prowess and use of multiple stage setups, Underwood exceeded all expectations.

While the power-packed performance was memorable, the special guests were unforgettable. In 2021, Carrie Underwood and Jason Aldean teamed up to release an emotional duet. Aldean’s entrance on the stage electrified the crowd with deafening screams, to the point it was hard to even hear his voice. Their duet was strong and pulled at the audience’s heartstrings with a story about tough love. However, Aldean was not the only country artist’s surprise guest. When Brad Paisley and his classic cowboy hat and guitar combo rose from under the smaller stage, the arena went nuts. Way back in 2011, Paisley and Underwood recorded the ballad duet “Remind Me.” The two performed a rendition of their collaboration and it was just as enchanting as the Jason Aldean duet. Jimmie Allen then came back out to sing “Denim & Rhinestones” with Underwood. The two had a choreographed dance and were clearly enjoying the routine. 

Another consistent feature of the night was Underwood’s interactions with the audience, celebrities and her band. She said she found the audience entertaining and waved and held hands with as many fans as she could. She also spotlighted her band, saying she was proud of the two fiddle players and introduced other instrumentalists on stage. 

After the introductions, Underwood was brought back on stage for two encores. The first was a rockstar level performance of Gun N’ Roses’ “Welcome to the Jungle.”As if the encores couldn’t get anymore iconic, she ended the night with arguably her most popular single “Before He Cheats,” and the crowd belted the roof off the arena. 

The entire concert felt like a sparkly dream with bright lights, fireworks and celebrities. Carrie Underwood pulled out all the stops to make the night fantastic. I’m unable to pick a favorite moment because the entire show was so unforgettable. Hopefully, we will “See You Again” Carrie Underwood for another Music City takeover.