Carrie Underwood Lights It Up On Opening Weekend of Cry Pretty Tour 360

Carrie Underwood Cry Pretty Tour review
Photo by Tammie Arroyo /

If you made it out to the first weekend of Carrie Underwood’s Cry Pretty Tour 360, then you know that the country music superstar has given the expression, “lights, camera, action” a whole new meaning.

LIGHTS: A cutting edge light show that includes laser-precise colored LEDs, didn’t just showcase the action on the stage, they reached into far into the audience, giving every seat an opportunity to become part of the show. In addition, there were showers of fireworks and even an occasional explosive from the stage.

Carrie Underwood Cry Pretty Tour 360
Photo by Jeff Johnson/UMG

CAMERAS: State-of-the-art projection screens rose and fell from the ceiling to punctuate performances with accompanying images that supported the theme of the song. They also allowed the musicians to change positions or leave the stage virtually unnoticed to create more drama.

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ACTION: Multiple moving risers fluidly raised and lowered Carrie and the band from stage level to approximately 15-feet above the in-the-round stage. In fact, during her performance of “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” Carrie started at one end of the risers and with each one she stepped on, she rose a bit higher, creating a staircase to the heavens.

NOTES: Opening acts Runaway June and Maddie & Tae do a beautiful job of setting the pace for the night of music and entertainment that, while it does feature chill ballads from all three acts, never falters in its atomic energy level.

Carrie’s set features numerous songs from her newest album, Cry Pretty, but the entertainer also clearly paid homage to the songs that brought her to her incredible level of success. In fact, she nodded to her post-Idol days with a set that included early hits like “Temporary Home,” “See You Again,” the obvious crowd favorite, “I Know You Won’t,” and “Just A Dream.

The evening’s headliner also brings her gal pals out for a fun romp through the history of women in country music, performing the biggest hits from stars like Loretta Lynn, Tammy Wynette, Patsy Cline, The Judds, Trisha Yearwood, Faith Hill, Martina McBride, Reba McEntire, and Shania Twain.

And as magical as that moment is, it pales slightly to a special guest appearance from a local fan who joins Carrie on stage to sing/rap “The Champion.” But this isn’t just any fan. These fans have incredible stories of heroism in the face of their own challenges. At the Birmingham show, a young woman named Jessica was invited to perform the anthem after Carrie’s team learned that Jessica’s six-year-old daughter, who has cerebral palsy has endured multiple surgeries in the past few months.

[RELATED: Carrie Underwood is “Southbound” in New Summer Anthem]

Even without the special effects, bells and whistles, the show provides plenty of goosebump- inducing moments based on Carrie’s incredible vocal performance alone. Sure, she can belt and power through those glory notes like a boss, but it’s in those contrasting moments where she exercises incredible control and restraint that she can nearly pierce your heart with her tenderness.

Carrie’s husband, Mike, and her sons, Isaiah and Jacob, were at her show in Birmingham on May 3, and it was Isaiah’s first time to see Mom perform. Mike shared his son’s response on Instagram.

He wrote, “What a night! This is Izzy’s first tour show that he’ll remember. He had a blast and kept yelling “mommy I love you” when she came close!! His mommy is a rockstar on stage and off the stage. Touring with a 3 month old is brave to say the least but if anyone can do it she sure can!!… The pictures don’t do it justice what a show!!”

He’s right.