By: Brilane Pierce
As the dynamic duo took the stage, merely two black shadows in front of a curtain, the audience roared even before the lights went up. As the lights flashed on, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush opened the show as the only two performs on the stage. Kristian on the guitar (of course), but Jennifer hitting a big white drum! I literally felt the drumbeat in my chest, and I knew this was going to be an entertaining show. Then, the curtain went up revealing the entire band (looking ever so dapper in white blazers and vests) opening with “Stuck Like Glue,” clearly a favorite of every Sugarland fan in the audience. One thing that I noticed was the huge white backdrop with a tie-dyed handprint that had a heart in the middle of it. Sugarland named this tour “In Your Hands,” and they were definitely not kidding when they picked this title!
The fate of the song selection that the group would perform was all in the hands of the fans! Not only did the fans have the opportunity to vote for songs that they wanted to hear on their website, but they were also taking text requests, twitter requests, and even poster board requests! It was truly a night that was all about the fans and the duo made it a memorable night for everyone there! They laughed along with the audience, cracked jokes, constantly had people brought up on stage, and seemed very comfortable with the fans. Jennifer announced that the night was not only about requests, but it also required audience participation. They had brought up a young girl on stage and actually made her part of their hit song “Everyday America,” while the band performed it.
Not only were they getting the audience involved with the concert, but Kristian even gave away his guitar! He and Jennifer signed it right then and there on the stage and instead of giving it to the first person in the front row, he walked all the way up to the top and gave it to a little girl. Next, Jennifer asked that everyone passed up their poster boards with song requests written on them, and while Kristian was up there, he collected some of them himself. With a big pile of poster boards on the stage, she decided to show off some “honorable mentions;” one including a request to sing “baby got back”! Although she said she likes “big butts and cannot lie,” she chose a song that was on their list. She had then performed “Little Miss” after someone had texted a request for it, and Jennifer even mentioned the name of who had requested it. She made the entire night a personal experience for everyone there, and she seemed to want to get closer to her fans in a genuine way.
Someone had passed up another poster board that stated it was their son’s birthday and that he would never forget his 21st if she sang “Already Gone” for him. Not only did they play that song for him, she also called him up on stage, propped a stool front and center, and sang it right to him! They even finished off the song with a dance together! It was such a cool moment to see!
Jennifer then announced that KFROG held a contest to select someone to sing onstage with them. The funny thing is, I remember driving in my car and I heard something about a contest and Sugarland, and I immediately was about to call in…until I realized that it was a singing contest! Singing and Brilane (myself) do not go together, so I am very glad I skipped that contest and saved myself the embarrassment. And luckily for the audience, the winner was amazing! This was another very cool moment to witness, because not only was Sugarland getting the audience involved, but she also made someone’s dream come true. The contest winner and Jennifer sang “Baby Girl” together.
Finally, after taking requests from the audience, fans, and texts, Jennifer asked if any of her band members had any requests for a song. Kristian held up a poster board that read “Ice Ice Baby,” and Jennifer busted out with the rap and sang it! It was absolutely amazing. She claimed to be a “white girl trapped in a rappers body,” and not only can she rap in “Stuck Like Glue”, but she nailed “Ice Ice Baby”. Seriously.
The entire concert was like one I have never experienced before. I have never seen a group so involved with their fans while performing and it was really great to see the duo connect with their fans on a more personal, and very laid back, level. They seemed so comfortable with their audience and truly displayed a sense of calmness, confidence, and radiance as they performed and interacted with the audience. Their tour title, “In Your Hands,” was proven to truly be in the hands of the fans, but it was made “amazing” by the talent, confidence, and genuine interactions made by Sugarland.