There are two sides to Miranda Lambert. One minute she is holding up her fingers in the shape of a gun, singing about shooting an abusive boyfriend and the next she is alone with her acoustic guitar singing a soft, slow song about wishing away her broken heart.
Lambert came back to her home state and headlined night one of Off The Rails Fest in Frisco. And she was every bit the female country powerhouse a ticketholder could expect. She opened her set with the throwback tune "Kerosene" from her first album, and throughout the night she played all the hits and misses from her career, which spans longer than a decade.
Dierks Bentley and Jason Aldean also performed on the main stage during the two-day country festival, which last year suffered from disorganization and messy execution. And this year was no different. The chairs on the floor of the stadium were not linked together, causing them to zig-zag. And the chairs weren't numbered, leaving guests to just guess which seat was theirs. There was nobody to stop you from leaving the stadium seating to go down on the floor, so the seating assignments were virtually meaningless. I guess the point was for people to have a place to two-step if they wanted, but it seemed chaotic and unorganized.
Miranda Lambert's performance was a high point. Two years after her divorce from fellow country musician Blake Shelton, Lambert is finally beginning to acknowledge it overtly. Before she sang "Ugly Lights," a song about drinking at the bar until it closes, she announced to the crowd, "I got a divorce in 2015." When the crowd erupted in applause, Lambert took a bow.
"Ugly Lights" nicely slid into "Mama's Broken Heart," a song she released in 2013. "Vice," her lead single off her latest album, The Weight of These Wings, was another standout, but the best part of the night was the encore. After the band left the stage and some drunk folks started to make their way home, Lambert returned to the stage with just her guitar and sang "Tin Man," the first song off the second disc of her latest album.
"This is kind of nerve-wracking being out here with just my guitar singing to a bunch of drunk folks," she said. It was a stark contrast from the song right before it, "Gunpowder and Lead," but those two songs played back to back perfectly capture Lambert's range as a performer.
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When she played "Tin Man," my guest to the concert said, "How does she not cry when she plays that song?"
But there were low points, too, even in Lambert's set. "Over You" is a song about her ex-husband's late brother. The last time I saw Shelton in concert, he was playing that song, and it seems safe to assume he'll continue to play it live because it's about his brother. One of her weakest was 2015's "Little Red Wagon."
Once again, the venue conspired to ruin the music. Occasional screeching sounds, which could be chalked up to the Toyota Stadium or Lambert's own sound system, interrupted the show.