w/ Lauren Alaina
The Palace Theatre in Greensburg
February 9, 2017
By Kellie Gormly
Country/pop star Martina McBride prefaced her visit to The Palace Theatre in Greensburg last night with a truck full of donated food, which a team of volunteers passed at the Westmoreland County Food Bank.
It was a fitting complement for the singer’s Love Unleashed Tour, with a warm and fuzzy theme throughout. McBride, celebrating 25 years in the business, partners with charities in many towns she visits through her Team Music is Love initiative.
And love, said McBride’s screen-backed voiceover that played just before she entered the stage, is just what this world needs right now. We would agree, adding that an evening of good music always does the heart wonders too.
The intimate Palace Theatre venue – the type McBride says she prefers, even though she has performed at Pittsburgh’s largest – provided a cozy environment that felt like a private performance in McBride’s own living room. It almost felt like we could have a spontaneous Q&A session with her, as she spoke to the audience and no one was too far away.
McBride’s setlist – preceded by the lively and entertaining Lauren Alaina – lasted more than an hour and a half, and included hits from the early years of her career in the ’90s, like “My Baby Loves Me” and the female-empowerment anthem “Independence Day.” The setlist also included favorites like “Wild Angels” and “This One’s for the Girls,” newer music from her current album “Reckless,” and old country remakes from her 2005 album “Timeless,” like “Today I Started Loving You Again.” We wish McBride would have included the beautiful tearjerker ballad “Concrete Angel,” which is usually a concert staple; but, maybe it was too depressing for the happy love theme.
McBride’s husky soprano vocals – a powerful force coming from such a petite person – dazzle in her finest moments. At any McBride concert, you will see her at her very finest when she sings “Broken Wing.” It takes a very powerful voice to hit the long, high notes on that ending line in the chorus: “Man, you ought to see her fly!”
And man, you ought to hear Martina sing this song, and others like it, in person when she comes to your town.