Over the last year, Miranda Lambert has been making headlines less for her music and more for her high-profile divorce from fellow country music superstar Blake Shelton.
But on Thursday night at Darien Lake Performing Arts Center, Lambert’s personal life took a back seat to a raucous night of country music as the Grammy-winning diva brought her “Keeper of the Flame” tour to Western New York.
Following a livelier-than-you-might-expect warm-up from country duo Brothers Osborne and a strong opening set by crowd favorite Kip Moore (his rendition of “I’m to Blame,” from his sophomore album, “Wild Ones,” was headliner-worthy), the lights went down and a video montage of girl power welcomed Lambert and her eight-piece band to the stage just before 9:30.
Under clear skies with a cool breeze blowing, the country faithful that packed the venue wasted no time in letting loose, many staying on their feet for the entirety of Lambert’s lengthy set.
The singer-songwriter showed her chops on the guitar throughout the night on songs including “Bathroom Sink” and her opening song of the evening, “Fastest Girl in Town,” from her 2011 album, “Four the Record.”
Though it would be tough to single out a highlight moment of the night, Lambert slowing things down with “Over You,” a not-too-subtle shot at former flames everywhere, was at the top.
With the crowd enthusiastically backing her, Lambert seemed to pour a little extra into what was a powerful point in the evening.
Throw in a rockin’ rendition of “Baggage Claim,” with its lyrics, “Behind every woman scorned is a man who made her that way,” and the evening had a bit of a theme – a theme Lambert’s rabid fans ate up.
For the hardcore country fans who came out expecting a night of hard-partying country music, they weren’t disappointed.
Likewise, for those fans who may be more familiar with Lambert for her tabloid headlines, they, too, saw the sassy side of the country girl they’ve read so much about.
Given that she writes much of her own music, Lambert let her songs do the talking from the stage, weaving a sordid tale of lost love, hard living, hope and happiness into a beautiful evening of music.
If there was one moment where the reality TV and her music collided, it might have been when she led into the song “Sweet By and By” by telling her fans it was a song about remembering the lessons she learned from her parents and the Bible.
If those lessons don’t seem to align with the last few years of her life, her fans most certainly don’t care. They showed nothing but love for this queen of country music.
With a backing band as strong as you’ll see on tour this summer and an onstage swagger that made her just plain fun to watch, Lambert owned the night under the stars at Darien Lake.