Saturday, Oct. 29, 2011 | 5:04 p.m.
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Martina McBride needed no introduction, supporting act or elaborate stage show to warm the crowd at Green Valley Ranch Resort last night. With 24 Top 10 singles and six No. 1 hits to her name, the success McBride has enjoyed as a country music powerhouse speaks for itself.
She opened her 90-minute, 19-song set with “One Night,” the lead track on her most recent album, Eleven. The upbeat and infectious tune was clearly written with her live show in mind. In its second verse, McBride tells her audience, “I’ve got all my friends around me/ I’m only here to party/ won’t stop ’til we see the sun.” The message was heard loud and clear as a somewhat-aged audience began to let its collective hair down en masse -- if only for the night.
Next, McBride zipped through “When God-Fearing Women Get the Blues” before venturing farther back into her catalog with “Wild Angels” and “My Baby Loves Me.” In a more playful moment, halfway through the first verse of “My Baby Loves Me,” McBride reached into the audience to autograph a fan photograph but lost her place in the song.
She quipped, “Well, I guess I can’t sing and sign at the same time.” Moments later, she joked again that for the cost of a purple chip, she would accept audience requests. As it turned out, she accepted them for free.
Flo Stafford and her husband traveled from Ireland to celebrate 47 years of marriage at the show. In a note passed from the floor to the stage, the couple explained that they were loyal fan club members who wanted nothing more than to hear “Whatever You Say.”
McBride obliged in what ended up being the second detour from her planned set list. The first occurred when she revisited “Help Me Make It Through the Night,” a cut from her 2005 album Timeless.
With her trademark vocal control, power and range, McBride navigated her way through several more hits, including “Love’s the Only House,” “Blessed,” “Teenage Daughters,” “Wrong Baby Wrong” and “Anyway,” the latter of which was rewarded with the first of two standing ovations.
In one moment she fearlessly tackled issue-driven songs that examine the darkest aspects of the human condition (“Independence Day,” “I’m Gonna Love You Through It”), and in the next celebrated the beauty of femininity (“This One’s For the Girls”).
For 90 minutes, McBride made apparent how her career has had the staying power to span nearly two decades. Her give-it-all stage presence, combined with her unmatched vocal ability, is powerful enough to send the audience to an emotional place where her lyrics seemingly come to life.
The end result? A concert experience where memories are made. And if you ask McBride, she’ll tell you that’s exactly what she strives for with every show.
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