Sugarland shines in snow land

Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles told 4,600 fans at the Centrium on Wednesday that she was feeling a little Twlight-Zone-ish here in Alberta.

Sugarland took to the stage at the Centrium playing to a near capacity crowd Wednesday. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush brought the audience to their feet from the start.

Sugarland took to the stage at the Centrium playing to a near capacity crowd Wednesday. Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush brought the audience to their feet from the start.

Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles told 4,600 fans at the Centrium on Wednesday that she was feeling a little Twlight-Zone-ish here in Alberta.

“It’s snowing out there!” said the Georgia-born country-rocker who’s more used to seeing magnolia blossoms at the end of April. “It’s like being in an alternative universe, it’s so cold out there!”

Despite the late snowfall and Sugarland’s rain-like stage lighting effects, things heated up quickly for Nettles and her cohort Kristian Bush, who both got a rousing welcome from audience members as young as eight to as old as 80. (While Sugarland is as much a rock act as anything else, you know it’s a country concert when whole families are waiting politely for this Grammy Award-winning band to appear.)

Nettles and Bush and their five-person band promptly came on stage amid white umbrellas lit up with fairy lights, and Sugarland started a 95-minute set with the anthem-ey song Love. It immediately got rows of fans standing and swaying.

The black-clad singers — Nettles wore a long sleeveless vest, high boots and leggings, Bush a black jacket and odd-shaping funnel-topped shoes — then performed Settlin’, about taking a chance on a new romance.

That’s when the first neon glow sticks began to appear, like fireflies in the dark.

Fans clapped their hands above their heads as Nettles, with her twangy powerhouse voice, launched into her signature hit, It Happens, about “one of those days when you roll off your back and you know it’s going to be a bad day.” Ropes of lights dropped from the Centrium ceiling, like rain.

Sugarland videos alternated with live footage of Wednesday’s concert on a giant screen as the duo performed Want To, about whether to wade into romance or remain ‘just friends.’

As bubbles floated down from the ceiling and a dreamy piano intro unwound, Nettles, now wearing a red sequined hat, sang a magical version of REM’s Nightswimming. Her simple delivery exposed the poetry of the song’s lyrics and pretty much left everyone in the Centrium “pining for the moon.”

The painful what-ifs of lost love were dealt with in the plaintive tunes, Joey and Blood on Snow. The powerfully emotional ballad, Stay, also went over huge with the crowd.

Nettles brought back her bubbly, fun persona and upped the tempo with Already Gone, which she dedicated to anyone who has switched gears as frequently as the song’s heroine, who fell in and out of love too fast.

Bush contributed nice acoustic guitar and harmonies and Nettles pulled a few ballet poses as lanterns descended from the heavens.

But the best song of the evening was Genevieve.

Beginning with the staccato tones of a lone marching drummer, the vaguely Celtic tune for the love-lorn eventually gained an accordion, guitars, and a bass, but still retained the improvised sound of musicians coming together to spontaneously pull off a memorable performance.

Sugarland has become known for guitar giveaways, and sure enough, a little girl in the audience wearing a pink top and an astounded expression on her face was given an autographed instrument by Bush— just before Nettles sang Sugarland’s other super-hit, the infectious All I Want to Do, with its ear-worm-like “ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh-ooh” chorus.

Nettles and Bush ended the concert rather slickly — or some would say sentimentally — by flashing photos of Red Deer’s street signs and businesses and Bower Ponds, while they performed Who Says You Can’t Go Home. The crowd went wild — particularly when a Calgary Flames jersey was flashed on the video screen.

But the sun literally didn’t come up until the encore, when a cardboard depiction of the heavenly body rose just after Nettles sang her hit, Baby Girl and just before she donned a blond afro wig and sang the B-52s tune Love Shack with Bush. The two performers later rolled over the audience inside giant beach balls. Now wasn’t that a party?

The concert opened with country-rocker Billy Currington, who pleased the crowd with his quirky hit, People are Crazy.

lmichelin@bprda.wpengine.com

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lyn Radford, 2019 Canada Winter Games board chair, was named 2020 Sport Event Volunteer of the Year at the Prestige Awards. (File photo by Advocate staff)
WATCH: Lyn Radford wins award for volunteer efforts

The board chair of the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer… Continue reading

A health-care worker prepares a dose of the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine at a UHN COVID-19 vaccine clinic in Toronto on Thursday, January 7, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Red Deer dips below 300 active COVID-19 cases

The number of active COVID-19 cases in Red Deer continued to drop… Continue reading

A candlelight vigil will be held in Red Deer on Thursday to honour the 350-plus people killed in the Easter bombing attack in Sri Lanka. Contributed photo
Candlelight vigil planned for deaths linked to Olymel COVID-19 outbreak

A candlelight vigil is being planned for those who died due to… Continue reading

Red Deer Rebels forward Jaxsen Wiebe battles Calgary Hitmen forward Cael Zimmerman for a loose puck when the two teams squared off in February last season. (Photo by BYRON HACKETT/Advocate Staff)
Calgary Hitmen shutout Red Deer Rebels

Rebels name centre Jayden Grubbe team captain ahead of Friday’s game

Bryson, six, and Mara, eight, play with puppies from Dogs With Wings Saturday. (Photo by Sean McIntosh/Advocate staff)
WATCH: Dogs With Wings introduces Red Deer program

A program that trains puppies to be certified service, autism, facility and… Continue reading

Walter Gretzky father of hockey hall-of-famer Wayne Gretzky waves to fans as the Buffalo Sabres play against the Toronto Maple Leafs during third period NHL hockey action in Toronto on Tuesday, January 17, 2017. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Nathan Denette
Funeral for Walter Gretzky to be held Saturday in home town of Brantford, Ont.

The funeral for hockey legend Wayne Gretzky’s father Walter will take place… Continue reading

A sign for the Canadian Security Intelligence Service building is shown in Ottawa on May 14, 2013. A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the judicial warrant process at Canada's spy agency — an issue that made headlines last summer — stretch back at least nine years. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Spy warrant shortcomings stretch back almost a decade, newly released audit shows

OTTAWA — A newly released audit report shows that difficulties with the… Continue reading

In this file photo, a lotto Max ticket is shown in Toronto on Monday Feb. 26, 2018. (By THE CANADIAN PRESS)
No winning ticket for Friday night’s Lotto Max jackpot

TORONTO — No winning ticket was sold for the estimated $29 million… Continue reading

A trial countdown sign marks the days at George Floyd Square, March 4, 2021, in Minneapolis. Ten months after police officers brushed off George Floyd's moans for help on the street outside a south Minneapolis grocery, the square remains a makeshift memorial for Floyd who died at the hand of police making an arrest. The trial of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin will begin with jury selection on March 8. (AP Photo/Jim Mone)
Officer’s trial could reopen intersection where Floyd died

MINNEAPOLIS — During a group’s recent meeting at the now-vacant Speedway gas… Continue reading

FILE - In this Aug. 30, 2020 file photo Portland Police Chief Chuck Lovell calls for an end to violence in the city during a news conference a day after a demonstrator was shot and killed in downtown Portland. Amid protests following the police killing of George Floyd last year Portland dissolved a special police unit designed to focus on gun violence. Critics say the squad unfairly targeted Black people, but gun violence and homicides have since spiked in Oregon's largest city, and some say disbanding the 35-officer unit was a mistake. (Sean Meagher/The Oregonian via AP, File)
As violence surges, some question Portland axing police unit

PORTLAND, Ore. — Elmer Yarborough got a terrifying call from his sister:… Continue reading

Harley Hay
Harley Hay: Just don’t call it cod liver oil

Many people swear that a daily dose of various vitamins is an… Continue reading

Email editor@auburn-reporter.com
Letter: Preserving green spaces in Red Deer

The Advocate published an article Feb. 11 about Sunnybrook residents concerned about… Continue reading

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Former Toronto Argonauts lineman Chris Schultz remembered as a gentle giant

Most Read