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Review: Country star Miranda Lambert rocks Tampa

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Country star Miranda Lambert rocked the nearly full MidFlorida Amphitheatre in Tampa on Friday, September 20, 2013. COURTESY PHOTO BY DAWN LEWIS.

She’s the fastest girl in town, king of the road and famous for all the right reasons. Singer-songwriter Miranda Lambert’s performance Friday easily elated a nearly full house at the 20,000-capacity MidFlorida Amphitheatre in Tampa. Lambert sported a form-fitting black blouse, sequined skirt and sang through a pink microphone that matched her guitar. While not pandering to the audience like opener Dierks Bentley – he mentioned “Tampa” about 27 times – she charmed the sea of the people nonetheless with a cool collection of her contemporary country hits plus covers of classic country and classic rock anthems.

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Country star Miranda Lambert rocked the nearly full MidFlorida Amphitheatre in Tampa on Friday, September 20, 2013. COURTESY PHOTO BY DAWN LEWIS.

The latest stop of Lambert’s Locked and Reloaded Tour started with the big screens surrounding the stage displaying a montage of powerful women to Beyoncé's "Run the World (Girls)." Lambert then opened her show with the rollicking, wild woman anthem “Fastest Girl in Town,” which she co-wrote. Lambert closed the show with a cover of Roger Miller’s 1964 classic “King of the Road,” about a poor musician who loves his life of freedom. Like Miller, Lambert doesn’t easily fit into the country music stereotype, easily appealing to listeners who might otherwise bristle at “country.”

On her records, Lambert cleverly placates the contemporary Nashville crowd with just the right amount of modern polish but in concert her uptempo songs roar with full-on rock intensity. On Friday, her rocking rendition of John Prine’s at once sad and humorous “That's the Way the World Goes 'Round” rang out with wonderfully distorted guitar madness that reinforced the song’s message, as Lambert sang with a refreshing snarl.

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Country star Miranda Lambert rocked the nearly full MidFlorida Amphitheatre in Tampa on Friday, September 20, 2013. COURTESY PHOTO BY DAWN LEWIS.

On the next song, though, she delivered a warm, somber vocal over crying steel guitar about the joys of having a perfectly flawed “Heart Like Mine.” The smart pacing continued throughout the show with the big surprise coming in the form of a faithful rendition of Mountain’s classic rock staple “Mississippi Queen.” The nearly 20-song setlist spanned Lambert’s career, including “Famous in a Small Town,” “Gunpowder & Lead,” “Kerosene” and many of my favorites.

For “King of the Road,” Lambert brought up Bentley, who depending on your taste is either an engaging or cheesy performer. He replicated his hits with such note-for-note precision it seemed he might have been singing along to a very loud backing track on the first few songs. Regardless, I’ll credit him with jogging around the stage so everyone could see him clearly, making eye contact with the women in the pit around the stage and acknowledging each bra and little white tank top that landed on stage.

Oh yeah, and he worked “Tampa” into the lyrics whenever possible and said the city’s name another dozen or so times between songs. Shouting out “Tampa” or “Atlanta” or “Wichita Falls” depending on the setting of the show is a gimmick that gets on my nerves but the crowd, at least the vast majority, loved it.



Wade_Tatangelo_by_Mike_Lang_HT_06212013 Wade Tatangelo has been an entertainment reporter, columnist and reviewer for more than a decade at publications nationwide. He is a Hershey, Pa., native who grew up in Tampa and graduated from the University of South Florida. Wade joined the Herald-Tribune in 2013. He can be reached by email or call (941) 361-4955.
Last modified: September 21, 2013
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