Andrew Holleran / Photo editor
In country music, partying has traditionally come from male artists and their rowdy friends.
Miranda Lambert is definitely changing that. Rocking out Nationwide Arena Thursday, Lambert performed for a crowd in which females outnumbered males on what seemed like a 10-to-1 ratio.
Lambert let her girl power shine before she even stepped foot on the stage – as Beyonce’s hit song “Girls” and a video montage of some of the country’s most influential women preceded her entry. Strapped with a pink guitar and singing into a pink microphone, Lambert made her entrance.
Strutting across the stage more like Kanye West than a country music star, and banging her head at times like it was a Metallica concert, Lambert didn’t put on the typical female country concert packed with ballads and inspirational songs.
Girl-power songs such as “Kerosene” and “Only Prettier” sent the crowd into frenzy with Lambert’s bad girl attitude shining through on every note. She even let out an occasional scream that you would typically hear from a 1980s hair metal group.
She also paid tribute to another one of music’s most innovative females, Lady Gaga. Performing Gaga’s smash hit the fall “You and I,” she told the crowd what a huge fan she is of the pop icon before singing the version with a bit more twang than Gaga’s original track.
The icing on the cake to prove she really is country’s baddest bad girl, Lambert brought out her side project, Pistol Annies.
The trio seemed to have come straight from a saloon in the Wild West to Nationwide Arena to deliver their three sassy songs to the crowd. Clawing at each other and delivering scowls to the camera throughout the short set, the girls’ theatrics were just as good as their vocals.
Near the end of the show, Lambert prefaced her first top ten single with a message to the ladies in the crowd.
“It is never okay for a man to hit a woman. But just in case, my daddy taught me how to use a shotgun,” she said, and was then replied with an eruption of cheers before performing her first signature track, “Gunpowder and Lead.” Her feisty attitude during the performance made it seem like she was performing the five-year old tune for the first time.
When she did perform her slower material, she did it with so much emotion that you could literally feel it pouring out of the speakers. During her most recent No. 1 hit, “Over You,” a ballad written by Lambert and her husband Blake Shelton about the death of Shelton’s brother when he was a teenager, Lambert belted the lyrics with so much sentiment that enjoying the recorded version as much as before the show might now be difficult.
Later in the show, Lambert performed another No. 1 smash “The House That Built Me,” a song about going back to the home in which she grew up. The cowgirls in sundresses and straw hats throughout the arena obviously connected to the material, as pounds of mascara came streaming down cheeks in downtown Columbus during the song.
If I had to guess, those same ladies will gladly come back to cry again whenever Lambert returns to Ohio. She is a refreshing country music act with unforgettable skills on the live stage. Her sass and fire make her one of the most innovative acts on country radio and her translation of that persona to the stage is proof to fans that she truly is country music’s most genuine bad girl.