Written by: Cole Edwards
From small-town girl to “American Idol” winner to country-music superstar, Carrie Underwood’s stardom continues to rise.
The “Before He Cheats” singer just released her first concert DVD, “The Blown Away Tour: Live,” which was named after Underwood’s highly successful tour and album. The DVD performance was shot in March on a tour stop in Ontario, Canada, in front of a crowd of more than 11,000 people and features over 100 minutes of high-energy performances; it offers 20 tracks in total, including Underwood’s record-breaking #1 singles.
The DVD was directed by Raj Kapoor, who has also worked with Shania Twain and Celine Dion. The concert offers a twisted interpretation of the classic “Wizard of Oz” story by dividing the show into four acts: Storm Warning, Lightning, Calm and Twister. The show balances sentimental ballads with more rock-oriented crowd pleasers and ends with a finale of Underwood being caught up in a makeshift tornado of wind and confetti.
Highlights include Underwood and her band lifted 150 feet above the crowd on a glass “floating stage” that allows them to travel from one end of the arena to the other.
The traditional hymn “How Great Thou Art” is intermixed with Underwood’s first number one hit “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” a skillful combination that appeals to her more conservative fan base. Perhaps the greatest artistic moment comes in the mesmerizing harmonies of “I Know You Won’t,” an obscure gem from her 2007 “Carnival Ride” album.
A fan-favorite staple of the tour, Carrie’s cover of Aerosmith’s “Sweet Emotion” is not included because of licensing issues. Also not included is the number-one hit “Remind Me” on which Underwood was featured with Brad Paisley.
The show’s encore of the title track, “Blown Away,” arguably the most arresting song in Underwood’s catalogue, is both stunning in its showmanship of visual elements and pure vocal talent.
The DVD extras offer behind-the-scenes footage of the tour, an image gallery and four award-winning music videos of the “Blown Away” album’s singles.
“The Blown Away Tour: Live” bucks the current trend of “live” DVDs as it was recorded live during one show, instead of piecing together the best performances from several shows.
Other than Underwood’s pristine voice, the DVD features moving video screens, confetti showers, extravagant costume changes and other various bells and whistles.
From the opening number, “Good Girl,” to the last, an ode to paternal abuse and the damaging effects of alcoholism, Carrie Underwood leaves no question as to why she is among the few mainstream country artists who have successfully transcended the genre to become an arena sellout. “The Blown Away Tour: Live” is must-have DVD for die-hard fans and music lovers in general.