Carrie gets personal with hometown fans
BY CARY ASPINWALL World Scene Writer
Monday, October 11, 2010
10/11/10 at 8:58 AM
How far our Carrie Underwood has come since Rooster Days.
And to the crowd who packed the BOK Center to the rafters Sunday night to see her sing, she is very much our Carrie Underwood.
The Checotah girl who went to Northeastern State University, sang at local fairs and festivals - and then tried out for a little television show called "American Idol."
Fast forward to Sunday night, when she headlined her second show at Tulsa's BOK Center, decked out in rhinestones and riding around the arena, suspended on wires in a vintage blue pickup truck.
She made the audience laugh by saying it was a nod to her performances at Broken Arrow's Rooster Days and other festivals - when she would often perform from the back of a pickup.
But they came to hear her sing, her sassy hits about lowdown ex-boyfriends or heartfelt ballads about loss and faith.
And she delivered. She hit the high notes whether she was suspended in a pickup, a swing or a platform high above the stage.
She started off the show with her rocked-out single "Cowboy Casanova" on a red loveseat that rose from the underbelly of the arena.
"Now let's see, where am I tonight?" she said after the first song. "I'm home!"
She seemed genuinely thrilled to be back in Oklahoma, waving to familiar faces and family in the audience. It was hard to miss the massive, sparkly wedding ring on her left hand - she married hockey player Mike Fisher this summer.
But before launching into a sentimental, heartfelt version of "Temporary Home," Underwood reminisced with the audience about the days before her "American Idol" win, platinum hits and numerous awards.
"Not too long ago, I was but a student at NSU," she said. "I did what any panicked college senior would do - I tried out for a reality television show."
It worked out all right, she said.
And for her fans, the Tulsa stop of her "Play On" tour worked out more than all right - they cheered loudly with cell phone cameras ready to capture every minute of the show. Her performance of "Just a Dream" was particularly haunting.
During her joyride in the blue pickup, she covered John Denver's "Take Me Home, Country Roads."
Afterward, she stomped back on stage for the attitude-rich "Undo It."
But then she slowed it down for her first hit single, "Jesus Take the Wheel," launching directly into the hymn "How Great Thou Art" at the end.
She wasn't afraid to get personal with the hometown crowd. She talked about what "Jesus Take the Wheel" meant to her and shared the message of "Change," with lyrics referencing the struggle to believe that as little as 36 cents spare change can make a difference in the world.
For every ticket sold on the fall leg of Underwood's "Play On" tour, 36 cents of the price will be donated to Save the Children.
At the end of "Mama's Song," one of her wedding photos displayed on the massive screens.
When she wasn't getting sentimental, she was indulging her inner rock star. She played guitar on several songs, including "Some Hearts" and "All-American Girl." She closed with some of her fans' favorite rock-tinged country hits, including "Before He Cheats" and "Last Name."
Both openers delivered solid sets: Sons of Sylvia, with their bluegrass-meets-hard-rock sound, and drinking-anthem troubadour Billy Currington.
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Cary Aspinwall 581-8477
Carrie Underwood performs at the BOK Center on Sunday. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World
Carrie Underwood channels her inner rock star with a hometown crowd in Tulsa. MICHAEL WYKE / Tulsa World