Carrie Underwood’s voice brought the heat to a major arena production. She strode onstage under storm-bruised prairie skies, belting out the cautionary tale “Good Girl.” The ensuing spectacle left no doubt that the American Idol machine works, that pop hooks can wield surprising power and that her Blown Away tour might actually deserve its name.
In front, and at one point, floating directly over the crowd in a glass-bottomed stage, Underwood kicked out an unrelenting string of powerful pop under iconic imagery. Big blacks and reds backed up a tale of women’s vengeance in “Two Black Cadillacs.” In dress reminiscent of Miss Havisham’s and under frenetic chiaroscuro geometry, she pleaded her case in “Last Name,” a story of overindulgence and an unremembered Vegas wedding. Just when you thought she had wrung herself out, Underwood unloaded a full-throated broadside on the tour’s title track, slamming the risen crowd with her gale-force anthem of sin and irredeemable human darkness. ★★★★☆