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Thread: Houston Press Concert Review by Chris Gray:

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    Junior Carrie Follower northtexas's Avatar
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    Houston Press Concert Review by Chris Gray:

    Last Night: Carrie Underwood at Toyota Center:

    http://blogs.houstonpress.com/rocks/2013/04/carrie_underwood_toyota_center.php

    Carrie Underwood
    Toyota Center
    April 23, 2013
    It's different at the top of the world.
    Because critics are the spoiled little creatures that we are, we are traditionally given seats that cost most fans quite a bit of coin. Hell, Alicia Keys' people put me on the third row. Get told Carrie Underwood is not allowing press tickets on her Blown Away tour, and it suddenly becomes an opportunity to teach somebody a $70 lesson, by God.
    So that was your humble correspondent up on the nosebleed level of Toyota Center Tuesday night, section 423, row 5, seat 17. But instead of fuming over this perceived slight, I saw a chance I don't normally get -- to see how well an artist like Underwood can or can't grab the people in the (cough) cheap seats.



    It is possible; I've seen it myself. In the rafters of Reliant Stadium during this year's rodeo (which only cost $17), I got completely caught up in Lady Antebellum's cover of the Rolling Stones' "Honky Tonk Women." Underwood didn't quite pull that off Tuesday, but she had her moments.Taking a break from fighting Tennessee's proposed "Ag Gag" bill on Twitter (it would require anyone filming or photographing suspected animal cruelty to turn over their footage to the authorities within 48 hours), Underwood said not a word about this controversy Tuesday. It has been quite the talk around Nashville this week, both the state capitol and Music Row, due to her well-known animal-rights activism. Good time to be on tour.
    But maybe she should have said something. Underwood feels somehow penned in by her relentlessly wholesome image compared to her main country rivals at the moment, serial dater Taylor Swift and shotgun-toting Miranda Lambert. From auditioning for and then winning American Idol onward, Underwood's life has followed the same trajectory of a garden-variety fairy tale: Mantels full of awards, a hunky hockey-star husband, thousands if not millions of meat-eating fans who can't possibly all share her vegan beliefs.
    Underwood must be aware of this; Tuesday the visuals of dark woods and a bright meadow surrounding "Temporary Home" came straight out of a classic Disney movie. We'll get to The Wizard of Oz a little later, but on some level she seems acutely aware of her role as a vessel or a conduit for her fans to project themselves right back onto her. But the blank slate is a little too blank.
    But she tends to play it too safe in her material, which is understandable but unfortunate. Tuesday's set was heavy with of atta-girl anthems, an inspirational song or two a la "Jesus Take the Wheel," and then lots of love. She seems to be either chasing it, warning others of faithless suitors, or wishing it would come back, but never getting badly burned by it either. It's fun sometimes -- "Last Name," "Cupid's Got a Shotgun," Hawaiian-flavored "One Way Ticket," "Can't Leave Love Alone, which brought out postpubescent opener Hunter Hayes -- but not much of it really sticks. Her best song to date is still "Before He Cheats," and that's been a while now; she needs another great revenge song in her catalog.
    Other than sing, and she can sing, Underwood doesn't really do a whole lot. Onstage, she looks a little exposed. She doesn't dance, and doesn't run or even walk around the stage all that much. She grips the microphone like a vise -- I swear I saw her bicep flexing on one of the big video screens -- and sings from the very bottom of her diaphragm while the wind machine hits her full-blast.
    Make no mistake, particularly on ballads like "Jesus Take the Wheel" or "Wasted," she is every bit the equal of her predecessors Faith Hill and Trisha Yearwood, with the kind of roof-reaching churchy vocal talent that shines like a beacon in the proper setting. Opener "Good Girl" sounded a little overprocessed and pitch-corrected, but those kinks were sorted out quickly and did not persist throughout the 100-minute set and brief encore.


    The one real surprise came when Underwood and three of her musicians shuffled into a roped-off part off the stage that at first resembled a corral but turned out to be a platform that detached from the main stage and allowed the quartet the to do a four-song mini-set while "flying" over the crowd like they were in a hot-air balloon.That was pretty impressive, no doubt. But at no point Tuesday did her set feel spontaneous or truly intimate, like Underwood was making a one-on-one connection with any of the 16,000-plus fans in the building (whose opinions may well vary on that count). It was an arena show, nothing less and nothing more.
    As the evening wore on, I kept coming back to the first time I saw Underwood live, at Reliant Arena in November 2009. Not long before the end of the main set, if memory serves, she let her band (save an acoustic guitarist) take a break and all but stopped the show with a cover of Randy Travis' "I Told You So." There was a real heartache in her voice, even at 26 years old.
    Now? Now she's got a great wind machine, that's for sure.
    Personal Bias: Tuesday was my third time seeing Underwood in concert. I'm still trying to figure out how that happened, but I'll still take her over Taylor Swift any day.
    The Crowd: Young. Female. White. Suburban. Well-behaved.
    Overheard In the Crowd: "We're only four flights up" - at the top of the stairwell, heading down after the show.
    Also Overheard: "Oh my God!!!" -- someone behind me was really excited about Underwood's announcement that $1 from each ticket was being donated to the American Red Cross.
    Random Notebook Dump: Boy, this is a long way from Leonard Cohen.
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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    Ok, I have no idea what the L.Cohen comment was about... ha ha ha.

    This is a consistant issue you hear with Carrie.
    I am not really sure what she can do about it.

    She tours like a crazy person and on a Tuesday night in the middle of a workweek maybe she is just phoning it in.
    Who knows.

    I sometimes think, to "get" Carrie Underwood, you have to invest alittle.
    It is not poured out all over the place like Taylor concert. It is not driven into the ground and stomped on like a Miranda concert.
    Its a bit of a give and take maybe. She sings tremendously well. And if you are going to stand there and just accept that as fact and not even try to involve yourself, I can see you getting lost outside of it.

    Clearly, getting nosebleed seats did not make him happy! And yes, it can make a huge difference to someone who is "used to" being up close. Even if he says it doesnt.

    Oh well.

    (I always get the feeling with critics at Carrie concerts that they go in "not buying into" the spiritual themes and the "girl nextdoor exteriors". So when you start with "I'm not really buying this", it is not surprising that she does not convince them.)
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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    I guess I am glad that he still respectfully prefers her to a Taylor Concert (or should I say a: "Up-With-Kids Concert"

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    Carrie Fans Legend teesharky's Avatar
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    Pklongbeach- did you read the other Houston review?!! Do you honestly think that carrie would ever "phone in" a show? Seriously!? You know better then that. haha

    The other Houston review was glowing for the same show this douchebag nitpicked. He admitted he is not a Carrie fan but at least he prefers her to Taylor. Lol

    also- carrie's team really needs to reevaluate how they treat the press. No wonders the critics are cold and snotty to carrie! They treat the press badly and stick them in nosebleeds. Why would they do that?! No wonders they are so kind to taylor and snotty to carrie. Taylor probably throws the press a private party every night and carrie sticks them in nose bleeds. Not a smart move on her teams part!!!
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan Ann055's Avatar
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    ^
    This is first time in all of the reviews I've read where it said the press were put in the nosebleeds. I've seen pics from critics who wrote their reviews who tweeted their own pics (not their photographers) & they were on the floor or first level --
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    Ultimate Carrie Fan supercarriefan's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teesharky View Post
    Pklongbeach- did you read the other Houston review?!! Do you honestly think that carrie would ever "phone in" a show? Seriously!? You know better then that. haha

    The other Houston review was glowing for the same show this douchebag nitpicked. He admitted he is not a Carrie fan but at least he prefers her to Taylor. Lol

    also- carrie's team really needs to reevaluate how they treat the press. No wonders the critics are cold and snotty to carrie! They treat the press badly and stick them in nosebleeds. Why would they do that?! No wonders they are so kind to taylor and snotty to carrie. Taylor probably throws the press a private party every night and carrie sticks them in nose bleeds. Not a smart move on her teams part!!!
    Perhaps Carrie refuses to give press preferential seating so that it frees up those great seats for actual fans . I like that she doesn't kiss the media's behind lol.
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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by teesharky View Post
    Pklpngbeach-- did you read the other Houston review?!! Do you honestly think that carrie would ever "phone in" a show? Seriously!? You know better then that.

    The other Houston review was glowing for the same show this douchebag nitpicked. He admitted he is not a Carrie fan but at least he prefers her to Taylor. Lol

    also- carrie's team really needs to reevaluate how they treat the press. No winders the critics are cold and snotty to carrie! They treat the press badly and stick them in nosebleeds. Why would they do that?! No wonders they are do kind to taylor and snotty to carrie. Taylor probably throws the press a private party every night and carrie sticks tgem in nose bleeds. Not a smart move on her teams part!!!
    There is also a much different energy and vibe coming from "down front". So a reviewer who is aware of the energy in the room is going to have a much different experience.

    And no, ha ha, I have never known her to "phone in" anything. Even rehersals are at full-tilt.

    Each time I have seen her has been a weeknight, and she was in full glory!

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    Carrie Fans Legend teesharky's Avatar
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    But he said they are not given press seats for the whole tour. So perhaps those other critics bought their own seats? I have heard rumblings of other incidents where the press was ticked off with carries team for not allowing interviews and charging $ to use her picture in local papers for reviews. Not sure if true- but the press may be retaliating with bad reviews.

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    Insane Carrie Fan liz278's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by supercarriefan View Post
    Perhaps Carrie refuses to give press preferential seating so that it frees up those great seats for actual fans . I like that she doesn't kiss the media's behind lol.
    I agree!

  • #10
    Hil
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    Well, It sucks dude didn't get good seats, but I still feel those seats should be reserved for fans. Good seats are already hard to come by let alone this guy who doesn't even "get" Carrie getting one. I'm guessing Carrie feels the same way lol. She has nothing left to prove as this is her 3rd Arena tour.
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    Quote Originally Posted by teesharky View Post
    Pklongbeach- did you read the other Houston review?!! Do you honestly think that carrie would ever "phone in" a show? Seriously!? You know better then that. haha

    The other Houston review was glowing for the same show this douchebag nitpicked. He admitted he is not a Carrie fan but at least he prefers her to Taylor. Lol

    also- carrie's team really needs to reevaluate how they treat the press. No wonders the critics are cold and snotty to carrie! They treat the press badly and stick them in nosebleeds. Why would they do that?! No wonders they are so kind to taylor and snotty to carrie. Taylor probably throws the press a private party every night and carrie sticks them in nose bleeds. Not a smart move on her teams part!!!
    the press get the seats they deserve.Why should they get good seats and fans, die hard fans get stuck in the nosebleeds?I never have and never will understand the purpose of a review of a show that has gone on, is over and is not coming back.This guy and others like him have a completely unnecessary , cushy job that they're paid well for.Don't whine.We should all be so lucky.

    These reviews mean nothing in the grand scale of Carrie's touring.
    Besides the guy seemed to love Lady and I've seen them.Not once did they spark any connection to the crowd.Not even really when they sang NYN although he crowd did sing along to that one. And they didn't run around or move much either.
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    Carrie Guru Carrie_Rocks_The_House's Avatar
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    That's so funny that this reviewer has been to 3 Carrie concerts
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    This guy can say whatever he wants about the concert itself but he needs to shut the hell up when it comes to his seat, he isn't paying for the seat to begin with.

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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    I do think there are both sides to this.
    As much as it is a part of Carries job to do PR and "put in the time" with m & g's and all the promo that goes into promoting a major release album, getting reviewers decent seats so they can adequately judge the show seems just part of the deal. ITs not special treatment. ITs just part of promoting somehting that costs millions and millions of dollars to keep running.

    But I also admit that you can not expect good reviews just for giving someone goods tickets, and there are probably huge amounts of people who want good seats as "press".
    I have no idea how the system works. So it is hard to judge both sides.

    But I absolutely agree with Tee, Taylor Swift's promo team makes sure the press is handled like royalty.
    I would bet alot of money on that!

    (doesn't make it right nor wrong, just is what it is)
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    Quote Originally Posted by pklongbeach View Post
    I do think there are both sides to this.
    As much as it is a part of Carries job to do PR and "put in the time" with m & g's and all the promo that goes into promoting a major release album, getting reviewers decent seats so they can adequately judge the show seems just part of the deal. ITs not special treatment. ITs just part of promoting somehting that costs millions and millions of dollars to keep running.

    But I also admit that you can not expect good reviews just for giving someone goods tickets, and there are probably huge amounts of people who want good seats as "press".
    I have no idea how the system works. So it is hard to judge both sides.

    But I absolutely agree with Tee, Taylor Swift's promo team makes sure the press is handled like royalty.
    I would bet alot of money on that!

    (doesn't make it right nor wrong, just is what it is)
    how is it promoting when they write a review after the show is over? And a sold out show that doesn't need promoting.Critics do not now or ever deserve good comped seats.As JB said the guy needs to shut up about his seat. It was free and he was getting paid to be there.
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    Carrie Fans Legend teesharky's Avatar
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    Good buzz promotes the show and the artists. Critics giving good reviews of movies books and music help create good buzz which attracts fans and buyers. Tours are no different. I don't think it is a big deal to give one or two good seats to the media. Fans can get the rest.

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    mbh
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    Quote Originally Posted by teesharky View Post
    Pklongbeach- did you read the other Houston review?!! Do you honestly think that carrie would ever "phone in" a show? Seriously!? You know better then that. haha

    The other Houston review was glowing for the same show this douchebag nitpicked. He admitted he is not a Carrie fan but at least he prefers her to Taylor. Lol

    also- carrie's team really needs to reevaluate how they treat the press. No wonders the critics are cold and snotty to carrie! They treat the press badly and stick them in nosebleeds. Why would they do that?! No wonders they are so kind to taylor and snotty to carrie. Taylor probably throws the press a private party every night and carrie sticks them in nose bleeds. Not a smart move on her teams part!!!

    MAYBE, it is Carrie's decision not to treat the press like VIP. She wants an HONEST REVIEW, not tainted with GIFT and MONEY. She will read and consider MORE the review of KNOWLEDGEABLE BUSINESS PEOPLE like "Baby A. Gil" of the Philippines. The CRITICAL QUESTION is - "How can Carrie do better tomorrow than she did today?" Carrie institutionalize this question as a way of life - a habit of mind and action. SUPERB EXECUTION and PERFORMANCES naturally come to Carrie as a RESULT of a NEVER-ENDING CYLCE of "SELF-STIMULATED" IMPROVEMENT and "investment of her talents for the future". Carrie, WE LEARNED, attain her EXTRAORDINARY POSITION, "not because of gift and money" - but LARGELY because of the simple fact that Carrie is TERRIBLY DEMANDING of herself USING her "EXTRAORDINARY NATURAL TALENT"; she got OODLES of plain old-fashioned BEST and HARDEST WORK - without shortcuts. TEAM CARRIE has OTHER MEANS for PROMOTION of the tour.

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    Well this is one review out of how many have we read? You could count on one hand the number of 'bad' or less than glowing reviews Carrie has gotten thus far on this tour. And I would think sitting in the nosebleed seats would give someone an interesting perspective and a real view of just how awesome Carrie is when she DOES connect and get the whole audience involved and with her. If you go into something thinking you're not going to like it or you do it grudgingly that's certainly going to taint your enjoyment of something. The guy went in not really liking Carrie or getting her, I say too bad for him!!!!!
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    Carrie Guru pklongbeach's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mbh View Post
    MAYBE, it is Carrie's decision not to treat the press like VIP. She wants an HONEST REVIEW, not tainted with GIFT and MONEY. She will read and consider MORE the review of KNOWLEDGEABLE BUSINESS PEOPLE like "Baby A. Gil" of the Philippines. The CRITICAL QUESTION is - "How can Carrie do better tomorrow than she did today?" Carrie institutionalize this question as a way of life - a habit of mind and action. SUPERB EXECUTION and PERFORMANCES naturally come to Carrie as a RESULT of a NEVER-ENDING CYLCE of "SELF-STIMULATED" IMPROVEMENT and "investment of her talents for the future". Carrie, WE LEARNED, attain her EXTRAORDINARY POSITION, "not because of gift and money" - but LARGELY because of the simple fact that Carrie is TERRIBLY DEMANDING of herself USING her "EXTRAORDINARY NATURAL TALENT"; she got OODLES of plain old-fashioned BEST and HARDEST WORK - without shortcuts. TEAM CARRIE has OTHER MEANS for PROMOTION of the tour.
    Thats just it. We don't really know how it workds. I am sure there is probably a standard protocall.
    And who knows if Carries people follow it or not.
    The point is, it works both ways.

    Giving someone good seats does not give you a good review. But it sure doesn't hurt.
    Giving someone nosebleeds does not give you a "bad" review. But it sure doesn't help.

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    Insane Carrie Fan twaintrain's Avatar
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    Am I the only one that doesn't really consider this a bad review? He says she's an amazing singer but that she could try to connect more. It may not be glowing but it's not bad. I've seen much worse.

    And I do agree he's ticked off about his seat. Lol
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