Carrie Underwood sparkles on Denim & Rhinestones Tour in DC

Jimmie Allen opens for Underwood on this trek

As Carrie Underwood glimmered her way to the stage at Capital One Arena Wednesday (Feb 15th), her legions of fans sang the opening bars of “Good Girls,” it almost drowned her out. Such is the Underwood has cultivated since her turn on American Idol.

Underwood took an early opportunity to show her lack of a fear of heights as she emerged and rose two stories above the Diamond-shaped stage. Soon, Underwood had the crowd in competition on the titular refrain of “Undo It.” She egged the 20,000 on with, what else, a diamond-encrusted megaphone.

Fitting, given that this is her Denim & Rhinestones Tour, in support of the recent album of the same name. And everything is glitzy in its aesthetic. From her wardrobe, to the diamond-shaped stage.

The stage is perfect. All arena tours should be required to follow this model. Narrow in its width, Underwood opted for an extra-long design that juts sharply out into the middle of the arena’s bowl. Two separate wings approach the 100-level seats. This makes the spectacle feel at once grand yet intimate.

“Denim and rhinestones,” is perhaps the best phrase to describe Underwood and her music. She and her music are both down-to-earth and casual, while not being afraid to fiercely shine. The Denim & Rhinestones Tour is the perfect showcase for this duality.

On offer from the new record were “Garden” and “Hate My Heart.” “She Don’t Know” was an underrated showstopper, with Underwood clad in cowboy hat and fringed overcoat (shiny, of course), wine glass in hand.

But it was not a new album dump. All the hits were firmly in place. Underwood belted her heart out on “Cowboy Casanova,” and she soared (literally and vocally) on “Blown Away.” Underwood reliably brought DC to church with “Jesus Take the Wheel” and her mind-blowing rendition of “How Great Thou Art,” which once again left this reporter’s mouth agape. I first saw Underwood during her Las Vegas residency in December 2021.

There’s no such thing as a cheap seat at a Carrie Underwood show. She spent more than enough time on her B-stage at the back of the house. It is here where she delivered “Jesus Take the Wheel” and “How Great Thou Art.” She took the time to speak to the crowd earnestly at this post, thanking them for her career and shouting out one family in particular. That family had four generations of women at the show.

There’s only a few more chances to catch the massive trek. Begging in October of last year, Underwood wraps the tour on March 17th in Seattle. After that, she returns to her Reflections residency at Resorts World in Las Vegas.

Carrie Underwood is in the prime of her career. She is in the top five vocalists in country music. There is no denying this. But to say much more about the show would be to spoil too many surprises on a perfectly-produced tour.

Put it this way: years from now, if this show is released on DVD, it will create legions more Underwood fans and have them saying “I wish I had been there.” It’s that memorable.

Matt Bailey
Matt Bailey

Matt Bailey is podcast producer and writer located in the Northeast. Since 2013, Bailey has produced more than 160 episodes of his own online radio show, Talk For Two. In 2016 alone, he interviewed Kevin Bacon, Crystal Gayle, Bob Barker, and Gilbert Gottfried, among several other stars. As a Correspondent for The Music Universe, his focus is Broadway, country music and concert reviews.