Miranda Lambert showed Friday night she’s all woman, with her pink microphone, her pink guitars, her pink bra and her chart-topping repertoire of man-bashing songs.
But the sold-out crowd at Germain Arena discovered she also can rock ’n’ roll, which she proudly displayed on her V-neck white T-shirt.
The 29-year-old couldn’t fool them with her thigh-high leather boots, blinged-out black belt and that distinctive East Texas twang. Lambert’s flowing golden locks were made to rock.
The Grammy Award winner shook up her set list and jammed out during the first eight songs of her Southwest Florida stop of the “Locked and Reloaded” Tour. She fired off a string of up-tempo hits and saved her award- winning ballads for the exclamation point.
She got hips shaking, heads bobbing and hands waving with “Fastest Girl in Town” and never slowed down, keeping the crowd on their feet with “Only Prettier” and “Heart Like Mine.” And before belting out her recent smash “Baggage Claim,” Lambert exclaimed, “We’re going to blow off some steam. What do you think, girls?”
The roar from the women matched Lambert’s energy. She set the tone with the string of hell-yes, middle-finger waving anthems.
For good measure, she even slipped in covers of Mountain’s “Mississippi Queen” and the Beatles’ “Get Back” during an 18-song performance. She proved she’s more than just the reigning Country Music Association female vocalist of the year.
She’s a spitfire who idolizes Dolly Parton and Reba McEntire. She’s a little Janis Joplin, a touch of Ann Wilson and a whole lot of talent.
Lambert also is a natural. She made it look effortless on stage, with a straight-ahead performance, an infectious smile, not a single wardrobe change — and without a single break and only a few sips of water. Lambert proved she’s not a synthesized studio creation. No auto-tuner needed here.
Her voice matched her face: beautiful. She certainly validated her recent Academy of Country Music nomination for Entertainer of the Year, and might only lose out to her husband, Blake Shelton.
Lambert also had a few tough acts to follow on the night. Lee Brice is a future star and warmed up the crowd with hits “A Woman Like You” and “Love Like Crazy.” But with my personal favorite and current radio sensation “I Drive Your Truck,” Brice paid tribute to the fallen soldiers and pulled on the heartstrings.
Dierks Bentley followed and showed he’s a headliner in disguise. With a 15-song set that included dance favorites “5150” and “Sideways,” Bentley, 37, made the evening a twofer. Throwing in Brice’s rise up the country ranks, “Locked and Reloaded” compared to buying designer outfits at outlet prices.
Lambert alone was worth the price of admission.
So what if she loves Honey Boo Boo, whom she met Thursday in Macon, Ga. She also loves chicken-fried steak and cold beer.
And her fans adore her ballads.
Lambert is fortunate enough to have back-to-back Country Song of the Year ballads to showcase her vocals.
The crowd didn’t miss a word of the heart-wrenching “Over You,” written by Lambert and Shelton about the death of Shelton’s brother.
And they also knew every word to the Grammy-winning “The House That Built Me,” which, by the way, was given to Shelton to record. Lambert commandeered it after she said she connected to the lyrics.
Those ballads have made Lambert a superstar. And every true rocker has a signature slow song.
Lambert’s three-song encore, however, was underwhelming. She did play her first No. 1 hit “White Liar” and showed her range with an Aretha Franklin cover “Do Right Woman, Do Right Man.”
But the night could have just ended after “Gunpowder and Lead” the song before the encore.
She calls it a “love song.” It’s her signature song. It hates on men. It’s full of sass. It’s rock with a twang. It’s Miranda Lambert.
And no one would have left disappointed.