Miranda Lambert, Keeper of the Flame Tour, Merriweather Post Pavilion, Columbia, Maryland USA, August 25, 2016
A Miranda Lambert concert is always a party. She is an energetic performer that delivers her unique brand of country rock with the same sweet, yet sassy attitude that permeates her albums and videos. She has a loyal following of millions of fans worldwide that flock to her shows to deliver the same energy back to the stage that Miranda provides in her performances. Despite her immense popularity among country and rock enthusiasts alike, Miranda frequently tours as a support act to even larger country stars, despite her ability to fill very large venues in her own right. It has been five years since Miranda last came to my area of the world with a headlining tour, and I jumped at the chance to go. I’ve seen her perform multiple times in the past and I’ve always left with a big smile on my face… and I was convinced that the upcoming show would be no exception.
This year’s show was at the Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, Maryland. Merriweather is a beautiful outdoor venue nestled in a 40 acre preservation called Symphony Woods amongst trees and ponds. It was named the second best amphitheater in the United States by Billboard magazine in 2010 and fourth best amphitheater in the United States by Rolling Stone in 2013. The venue capacity is approximately 15,000 with a covered amphitheater and a large outdoor lawn area in the back. I don’t think the show was sold out, but the venue was definitely packed.
Miranda was touring with 2 support acts, the first of which was the Brothers Osborne. They are an American country music duo composed of brothers T.J. and John Osborne. Originally hailing from Maryland, vocalist T.J. and guitarist John had a lot of hometown fans in the audience which started the night on a high energy level. The Brothers released their first full length studio album “Pawn Shop”, this January and they gave us all a lively seven song set before ceding the stage to the second support act of the night, Kip Moore . Kip is a country solo artist that has released two studio albums to date. Better known than the Osborne Brothers, he kept the energy alive with a 10+ song set of rock-style country including several of his better known hits like “Somethin’ ‘Bout a Truck” and “Beer Money”. Kip was a lively performer that interacted with both his band mates and his audience throughout his set. He definitely had a disproportionate amount of female fans in the audience as evidenced by the sometimes deafening high pitched screams.
When it was finally time for Miranda to take the stage, she hit us right out of the gate with her high energy wild girl anthem “Fastest Girl In Town”. She kept the tempo upbeat for most of the show with signature classics, such as “Baggage Claim”, “Kerosene”, “Mama’s Broken Heart”, “Little Red Wagon” and the ultimate crowd pleaser “Gunpowder and Lead”. The softer ballads were tucked in there too, like the emotional “The House that Built Me”, “Heart Like Mine”, and “All Kinds of Kinds”. Always straddling the line between country and rock, Miranda’s concerts usually include at least one cover of a famous rock song… and tonight we were treated to a fantastic hard hitting version of Mountain’s 70s rock classic: “Mississippi Queen”. Her newest single “Vice”, presumably off of her as of yet unreleased sixth studio album, was also played to the crowd’s delight. Approximately 17-18 songs were played in all, but I never saw the set list and I was too caught up in the fun of the night to keep an accurate song count.
Miranda has varied her stage outfits throughout the tour… and on this late summer evening in Maryland, she was sporting a 60s hippie retro look, including a white tank top , tattered jean cut-offs, and a bright pink headband. Her appearance successfully conveyed the light, fun, yet take no prisoners attitude that is what a Miranda Lambert concert is all about. Just like every other time I’ve seen her perform, Miranda delivered a high quality, extremely fun show. As always, she was interactive with the audience, frequently speaking to us like she was among old friends. She was also very interactive with her large 8 piece band, frequently bringing them to the front of the stage with her to highlight their performance as well. This definitely gave the feeling that you were there to see an actual band versus a solo performer… which is definitely my preference when it comes to concert styles!
Overall, it was a fantastic evening filled with positive energy and great music. The tour itself was supposed to run a few more weeks, but the last several shows were cancelled without much information beyond revealing that Miranda was on “mandated vocal rest”. There is currently no word on whether or not the cancelled dates will be rescheduled… but rescheduling appears unlikely. Hopefully, Miranda’s health issues are minor and all of us at Afternoiz wish her a speedy recovery. We also hope another tour will be announced after the release of her upcoming album, “The Weight of These Wings” (scheduled for November release), but no word on further touring is available at this time.