Country music and “The City of Brotherly Love” are not two things commonly associated with one another. However, after we absorbed the scene at one of the most exclusive shows in town: mega-star Carrie Underwood, in a laid back 2,500 person venue, we are rethinking the relationship between our city and country music. This is in no small part due to the smooth and dazzling version of country music that Carrie Underwood gifted to the crowd at the Fillmore on Thursday, June 15.
We had the honor of attending one of only two tour dates Underwood has planned for 2017. Tickets were only available to American Airlines AAdvantage® Mastercard®cardmembers. Thus, the fans that were lucky enough to snag a ticket received an exclusive, once in a lifetime experience.
The last time the ex-American Idol winner played in Philadelphia, she headlined a show to a packed house of almost 20,000 people at the Wells Fargo Center. An entirely different scene than the edgy and intimate Fillmore. You could feel the buzz of excitement from the moment you entered the venue. Our favorite aspect of this event was the devotion of the fans. There is nothing worse than attending a concert where the crowd is not invested and is disinterested in the performance of the artist. That undesirable scenario is the exact opposite of the mood before, during, and after the show at the Fillmore.
The concert was characterized by an undeniable excitement. Walking around during the happy hour preceding the show, we could feel the attendees’ pure joy and eager anticipation of seeing an act that they adore. That feeling reminded us of what we love so much about concerts. The event itself was put together beautifully. The Fillmore was immaculately clean inside and out and had some of the most pleasant staff we have ever encountered at a venue. The show started on time and went for about 90 minutes.
When we hear the name Carrie Underwood, a picture pops into our heads of the quiet girl from Oklahoma that appeared on American Idol. Her original audition video elicited an image of a shy, small town girl.
The picture we had stored of Underwood for over a decade became completely decimated the second she stepped on stage. Her presence while performing is something we will never forget; she owned the room from the second she started singing until she walked backstage. A sweet and humble confidence supported by her powerful voice and impressive vocal range, left us speechless.
She encouraged the crowd to let go and have fun, inviting them to “…dance, sing, do whatever.” The atmosphere was fun and light hearted. In between belting out her greatest hits and a few covers, including a bone-chilling rendition of ‘I Will Always Love You’ by Whitney Houston, she took the time to talk and engage with the audience. There were times where it was so up close and intimate, we felt like we were a guest at a dinner party hosted by Underwood. She told stories ranging from how she got musical inspiration from stealing cassette tapes from her older sister, to how her husband does not think she writes enough love songs. Her charm and authenticity are so relatable it felt like we were hanging out and catching up with an old friend that we hadn’t seen in ages.
A highlight of the night was when the opening notes of one of her biggest hits, ‘Before He Cheats’, slowly started being played. The crowd exploded into the song, which was another example of how much love and positive energy was in the room. We had to take a second to soak in the beauty of that moment.
To say we were impressed with Carrie Underwood is a huge understatement. This was one of the best concerts we have ever attended (and certainly the best country music show). The funny part is there was no fuss about it; no elaborate stages, outfit changes, pyrotechnics, or choreographed dance moves. She is so talented she can captivate and move an audience all by herself. A tip of the cowboy hat to Carrie Underwood for this amazing performance.