Carrie Underwood, stunning Reflection Residency
By Mace Yampolsky
I went last Saturday night. Once again, I was not familiar with a lot of her music. I did know some, but it didn’t matter.
She is a consummate performer and she has an unbelievably powerful voice for someone that is 5’2.” The show opened with Underwood’s hit “Cowboy Casanova” and stayed mostly upbeat throughout the 100-minute, 20-song show.
Even when Underwood changed clothing (which she did a lot), the interludes were never obnoxiously long to her credit. She is absolutely stunning. The show was supposed to start at 8 pm. Most of the performers start at 8:30 or later, but she started at 8:07. I was pleasantly surprised.
The set of the Reflection spans the absolutely massive Resorts World Theatre stage. Three screens sit behind a triangular shaped platform. A ramp to that platform opens up for Underwood’s quick-changes. Above the stage hang triangular screens that evoke shards of the mirror through which the “Jesus Take the Wheel” singer is reflecting upon her career.
The highlight of the night was not an Underwood rocker. Instead, it was her take on the gospel classic, “How Great Thou Art.” Her sweeping vocals transcended time and space as Resorts World seemingly reached heaven. It had the entire audience on their feet, It must be heard live to be believed. It is truly one of the best vocal performances you will ever hear.
To give you a sense of the production’s scale, at one point, Underwood emerges on a Cadillac throne wearing a long black robe. Like a glittery grim reaper, she launches into the “revenge” portion of the evening, belting “Two Black Cadillacs,” “Church Bells,” and “Blown Away.” During the latter, she rises several stories above the stage, wind blowing her hair — all while untethered to any safety pole. Underwood has everything you could want in a Vegas residency: fireworks, set-changes, and even some very skilled aerialists.
The elements never overpower her presence or incredibly powerful vocals. Instead, they amplify everything about Underwood’s catalog and elevate her performance beyond a typical concert. She had about a 10-piece band, with backup vocalists, fiddlers, a banjo, guitarists, and a keyboardist. She even played the guitar for a couple of songs.
With Reflection, Carrie Underwood has taken on that mantle as the new Queen of Las Vegas. Underwood will soon be easily associated with Sin City herself for many years to come. You don’t just bring your tour show and plop it down in a Vegas theater; the Vegas tradition is to create an experience that cannot be seen anywhere else on the planet. She wore the mantle well. Take that, Cher!
In addition to Carrie Underwood, the Grammys were in Las Vegas this weekend. As usual, I was not familiar with many of the artists or their songs, but the performances were good. I do know who Bruno Mars is, I’ve even seen him. He and his partner Anderson Paak (they call themselves Silk Sonic), took home several awards. They won Record of the Year, Song of the Year, Best R&B Performance and Best R&B Song for “Leave The Door Open.” I know the tendency is to knock the awards shows, but I was entertained.
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