Carrie Underwood to “Play On” Saturday

By Kate MacDonald

Carrie Underwood will make her second-ever appearance at the University of Massachusetts this Saturday, March 27 at 7:30 p.m. as part of her “Play On” tour, named after her latest CD release.

In February of 2009, Underwood played to a huge crowd at the Mullins Center, prompting many in the audience to realize that Underwood certainly has the stuff to make it in the music business. She is not the type of artist to lip-synch her way through a set, nor is she the type of singer to carry out a mediocre performance.

The “American Idol” winner from season four, who was never in the bottom three, is one of the most successful “Idol” alums. Though Kelly Clarkson remains the highest selling former idol on a worldwide scale, Underwood has surpassed Clarkson domestically, according to a December 2009 About.com article. Underwood has managed to do something rather unique – attract pop, country and rock fans alike with her great hits.

“Play On,” is Underwood’s third album, after “Some Hearts” and “Carnival Ride,” both of which reached multi-platinum status. It spurred radio hits “Cowboy Casanova,” “Temporary Home,” the first of which was most recently performed at the Country Music Awards.

According to her official website, “Play On” signifies Underwood’s step into the more mature music scene, as signaled by her lyrical and musical depth and range. She co-wrote seven of the thirteen tracks, which she believes gives her fans more insight into her persona.

“They can listen to certain things and think, ‘This is really sincere. This is really emotional. She was a writer on it, so this comes from something that was deep inside of her heart.’ I do feel like people can get to know me a lot better from Play On,” Underwood says on her biography page. The album includes songs about bad breakups, sweet talkers, even songs about her family, as seen in “Mama’s Song.”

Fans of Underwood can expect to not only hear new material, but old favorites as well at her Saturday performance. Megahits such as “Before He Cheats,” “Jesus Take the Wheel,” and “All-American Girl,” are almost sure to be on the set list. Anxious admirers can sneak a peek at the leaked tour setlist, which is making its rounds on the Internet.

One new aspect to her show that fan club members can look forward to is a “choose the song” aspect. Members can vote online for a performance in one of four genres – rock, ‘90s country, ‘80s pop, and classic country. As of Wednesday, rock seems to be the most chosen genre, but it all depends on how the votes stack up.

The “Play On” tour began March 11 in Reading, Pa. and will end July 4 in Milwaukee, Wis. By that time, Underwood and company will have traveled coast to coast and forayed into Canada twice. Multiple shows in the 66-date tour have already sold out, according to various media sources. For example, foxtoledo.com announced that Underwood’s Toledo, Ohio show on April 24 sold out in 26 minutes. Other sold out shows include Rockford, Ill., Augusta, Ga. and Springfield, Miss.

The Oklahoma native hopes to simply have fun during her tour, despite her widespread fame and impeccable reputation. Underwood has won five Grammies, fourteen Billboard awards, five American Music Awards and five Country Music Association Awards, to name a few. Despite all of her celebrity, Underwood wants to keep things light, saying on her website, “I like to think I’m still young enough to keep the fun and the sass and things like that.”

On Saturday, concertgoers can almost certainly expect to see Underwood bring some of that fun and sass to the Mullins Center.

Tickets are still on sale for Carrie Underwood’s “Play On” tour date at the Mullins Center. Doors open at 7:30 p.m. on Saturday, March 27.

Kate MacDonald can be reached at [email protected]