PORTLAND – An attractive young woman flew through the air with the greatest of ease at the Cumberland County Civic Center on Tuesday night.
No, the circus isn’t in town until next week. It was Carrie Underwood on her amazing flying stage.
Fresh from appearances on the Academy of Country Music Awards show and “American Idol,” Underwood brought her “Blown Away” tour to Portland.
A highlight of the tour is when Underwood performs a few songs from a section of stage that rises above the crowd as if lifted by hot-air balloons.
It did make for an impressive show-biz moment Tuesday. And it certainly visually complemented Underwood’s soaring style of pop/country singing. The megastar belted out “All-American Girl” as her many fans craned their necks to follow her moves.
A bit of rhythmic diversity was also welcomed as the crowd swayed to the reggae-flavored “One Way Ticket,” with its one-word message for the “boss man” (hint: rhymes with ticket).
From tough-minded good ol’ girl to sentimental sweetheart, the Oklahoma native established the musical identity that, along with an amazing voice, has made her one of the most popular artists performing today.
“I sing a lot of songs about cheatin’, don’t I?” she mused at one point, following up with a rousing version of “Before He Cheats.”
She showed her softer side on such tunes as “Temporary Home,” for which she had one female backup singer onstage and several thousand in the audience.
Underwood added a remarkable soulfulness to several tunes. “Undo It” was an early gem, as was “I Know You Won’t” later on.
“I told You So” established her links to classic country, as did the fiddle, mandolin and steel guitar work turned in by her band on several songs.
“Jesus Take the Wheel,” “Two Black Cadillacs” and an encore featuring “Blown Away” were also fan favorites.
Steve Feeney is a freelance writer who lives in Portland.