Photos and Review by Jamie Cowan
The Sugarland “In Your Hands” tour made its way to Atlanta to play at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre, August 23. This hometown show for Jennifer Nettles, originally from Douglas, Ga., was nothing short of its title, as it seemed to be catered solely for its audience. The duo, Nettles and her band mate, Kristian Bush, rocked out the venue to popular hits such as “Stuck Like Glue,” “All I Wanna Do,” and “Little Miss,” as well as mixed in a few of the fan’s requests. Those fans, of all ages, were clad in cowboy boots galore, with their phones held high in the air as a 21st century lighter, ready for a great show.
The “In Your Hands” tour featured special guests Canaan Smith and Dave Stewart (you may recognize that name from the British band, Eurythmics). I was quite surprised by the diversity of each artist and their genres; Smith with a more laid back pop-country sound and Stewart bringing a solid rock-and-roll, soul sound to the venue. Despite the difference in the music, both acts had no trouble entertaining the nearly-packed crowd; though I don’t think most of the Sugarland fans expected the type of music that Stewart brought to the table.
Stewart and his band; complete with a five-piece ensemble and all but one being female, mind you, led the crowd with music from his newest album, “The Ringmaster General”, set to be released Sept 4, and a throwback to some of his hits from his band, Eurythmics. The 45 minute set had few flaws, other than some technical blunders; the sound levels set too high, making the instrumentals extremely loud and the most lyrics unable to heed. What really set his performance off, though, was the introduction to his 12-year old daughter, Kaya, who sang Eurythmics’ “Mystery Man”. I was beside myself when I heard such a great booming voice, with such powerful tones come from such a young girl. Watch out, Nettles!
Sugarland was also full of many surprises last night. Implementing the “In Your Hands” concept of their show, the group made sure to make their set all about their fans. This included letting their fans create the line-up by picking each out of the crowd at random to come perform a song of their choice and gathering fan-made posters with song titles on them, deciding which song to sing. But once I thought there was nothing else that could be done to jazz up the show even more, Bush gives out a signed guitar to an audience member. And another kicker (as if there wasn’t enough), John Glosson, Nettles’ partner from the competitive television show, Duets, and fellow Georgian, comes out to perform with her. The two numbers performed by the pair, “Life is a Highway” and Sugarland’s hit, “Stay”, literally gave me chills. The combination of their two voices was mesmerizing.
I was also amazed at how active Nettles was on stage. Here I was, 6 months pregnant like she, almost to the point of waddling, while she was gallivanting around, looking oh so cute showing off her baby bump in a bright yellow shirt and maternity jeans. It was a sight to be seen!
Bottom line: If you like listening to Sugarland on the radio, then I highly recommend seeing them perform live. They are just plain fun and the comradeship between Nettles and Bush is very apparent; they won’t disappoint and definitely will not leave you wondering if there’s “Gotta Be Something More.”
Photos After the Jump