Day two of the Capital Hoedown opened up with even longer lines than the first day, with fans starting to line-up as early as ten A.M. to see Jason Blaine, Billy Currington, Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood. While doors didn’t open until 3 P.M., the fans were ready to go in the heat. Lebreton Flatts park was ready to rock the second fans started running across the field to get as close as possible to the large stage.
Things started off with Canadian Jason Blaine. While he now lives in Nashville trying to get his career to go international, his family were all in attendance and got shout-outs from him during his performance. He gave a solid opening number to get the day off started with a party atmosphere yet again.
The mostly-female crowd started to get more excited when hunky Billy Currington took the stage. He knew how to smile at the fans and get the screams and cheering going throughout his set, which included most of his major hits. The sun was pretty hot during his concert, but that added to “Pretty Good at Drinking Beer” and “People are Crazy.” While he had a big following there for just him, the fans were really there for the next two acts: Texan Miranda Lambert and Oklahoman Carrie Underwood.
Backstage, Carrie Underwood and husband Mike Fisher had strolled out of her bus hand-in-hand. It was great to see the local boy back in Ottawa, the city that he had called home for so long. He was all smiles all night long, and could be seen on the side-stage watching Carrie’s set proudly. The pair also popped up to take a peek at Miranda Lambert’s show before disappearing out of fan sight. Carrie took the time to wave at fans in line to meet Miranda Lambert, whose bus was parked right beside hers with Miranda’s party Airstream between. Both women gave each other shout-outs during their concerts, for “gal pal Carrie” and “friend Miranda.”
I met Miranda Lambert last night outside of her Vibe Room before her set, and she is one of the nicest celebrities you could ever meet. While she is a firecracker onstage, she’s still down-to-earth and friendly to her fans. It’s a great thing to see with someone whose fame has risen as much as hers over the past year with “Revolution.” Her dogs weren’t allowed to enter Canada, she told a fan, because they didn’t have official papers since they’re “mutts.”
The second Miranda Lambert’s crew began to make the changes and get her gear on-stage, the chants of “Miranda! Miranda!” had started. Fans were squishing against each other to try to get as close as possible to the stage. She opened up with a feisty “Only Prettier” to the screams of the young girls in the crowd. As the opening chords to “Kerosene” cut in, the volume got even louder. No doubt about it: Miranda really is on-fire internationally. She announced during her show that “Revolution” had gone gold in Canada and thanked the crowd for it.
Lambert introduced her group Pistol Annies to the crowd as they came out to sing “Hell on Heels” and “Takin’ Pills” together as a trio. While it wasn’t a surprise as I saw Angaleena Presley walking around backstage, the crowd soaked in every second of that special two-song performance.
Miranda gave an emotional performance of “The House That Built Me” which was just as moving for the crowd. She let the fans finish off the song for her, who were singing along to every note. While the song is special to her, it was also special for the crowd. It was already just as loud as it was for superstar Kenny Chesney the night before… and it was still day light!
Missing from Miranda’s set were hits “More Like Her” and, surprisingly, “Gunpowder & Lead.” There was no encore and it was a short one-hour set. Other noteable, but non-single, songs missing: “Sin For A Sin,” “Dry Town,” and “Love Song.” It didn’t take anything away from the show, which was one of the top three so far in the Capital Hoedown. She did include brand new song “Baggage Claim” from her upcoming “Four The Record” album, and the entire pit knew every word.
The already-packed-tight LeBreton Flatts field was ready for Carrie and began the “Carrie!” chants during the half-hour stage change. While most fans took this chance to grab some last minute merchandise from the tents at the back, many were using the half-hour to recharge and get even closer if possible. While no professional shots were allowed by the media for either Miranda or Carrie’s sets, it didn’t stop the fans from taking video and pictures, so fully expect some YouTube videos up by fans of the Hoedown.
Carrie opened up with “Cowboy Casanova” to the cheering Ottawa crowd welcoming her back “home.” While there is some tension between Miranda and Carrie’s fan bases, it all disappeared last night as fans were just as loud for her as they were for Miranda. Both women are superstars in their own right, if crowd energy levels are anything to go by. As always, Carrie’s vocals were outstanding and right on.. even without any fancy stage, fancy lighting, or a screen behind her. Everyone was able to focus on the woman’s voice. How could you not?
“I’m keeping track of all the bugs I’m eating tonight,” she joked before “Wasted,” which she dedicated to all those drinking tonight. While she had the best vocals of the entire festival so far, everyone was blown away by the mix of “Jesus Take The Wheel” with “How Great Thou Art.” You could see husband Mike Fisher side-stage watching her proudly as she was welcomed back by the Ottawa fans for the first time since Mike was traded to the Nashville Predators from the Ottawa Senators. She didn’t miss a note all night, smiling and waving to fans with her down-home charm.
Carrie scared herself, and her fans, with her introduction to “All-American Girl” last night. Saying that one day she was going to have to “teach my daughter what the song means” and “change the lyrics around for her” she quickly realized what that meant and added on “down the line in a few years when we have one.” Her aw, shucks personality really shown through all night and made you love the woman even more: no matter how huge she is, she’s still the same girl from American Idol six years ago. She also shared that the one thing she was most proud of in her six year career was learning to be a songwriter and be able to be in the room with the writers of “Temporary Home.”
The highlight of the night was the surprise performance that I was guessing about a day before. During Carrie’s encore, she started singing “Before He Cheats” and grinned as she pointed offstage to announce “Miranda Lambert!” The crowd blew up with this duet that people have waited forever to see, which turned into a medley of “Gunpowder & Lead” and “Before He Cheats.” Both girls sang both songs together and no one tried to out-sing the other. It was the best surprise of the festival, and might be the number one moment unless Rascal Flatts and Sara Evans can find a way to top it tonight.
While Miranda’s Revolution is continuing through Canada and the United States, her “gal pal Carrie” was right there to join in. Here’s hoping the pair somehow find a way to tour together: what do you think about that idea?