This concert review originally appeared on Degenrefy.com written by Ash Starkweather
Doors opened early at The Fillmore for the Charlotte crowd to see some of CMT’s Next Women of Country on tour. They hit the bar and gathered around the stage, socializing and joining in on crowd sing-alongs waiting for the show to start. Unfortunately, the crowd had to wait an hour past show time for things to get under way, but they would soon find out that the show was well worth the wait.
Kelsea Ballerini [★★★★★] stormed the stage opening up with “Yeah Boy” and was genuinely surprised when the crowd was singing it back at her. She also took the time in-between songs to tell us a little behind the music. Kelsea mentioned how she started writing songs at the age of twelve, and always dreamed of making a record. Today was especially important to her because “It comes out at midnight, so today is my favorite day ever!” She played a number of songs from her new album The First Time including “Peter Pan,” “Dibs,” “XO,” and “Underage.”
Mid set, Kelsea reached down and picked up a CD. She said “This is the very first copy of my album, who wants it?!” The crowd cheered as she threw it out to the loudest section. She then jumped down from the stage on to the barricade for her next song. As she got back on stage for her next song, Kelsea said “This is the song that made me fall in love with country music.” She then started playing Keith Urban’s “Stupid Boy.” From there she went into a full 90’s mash up that had the crowd in sing-along mode. It started with Britney Spears’ “Oops I Did It Again” and ended in Destiny Child’s “Bootylicious.” The crowd genuinely enjoyed every single song that Kelsey played, but the end of her set was the cherry on top as she said, “This one is for my girls, sorry boys” as she went into “Stilettos.”
Kelsea did one more cover of Rihanna’s “Take a Bow” before finishing her set with her current single “Love Me Like You Mean It.” After her set she made her way to her merch table to meet all the fans, and for the first time they were able to purchase her album. The crowd absolutely loved Kelsea and were already calling her the next big thing.
Jana Kramer [★★★★★] had some tough boots to fill after Kelsea Ballerini’s set. The lights came up and she came out to “Boomerang.” Jana also gave us some backstory to her songs before playing them. She played a number of songs that will be on her new album which will be out in August including “Pop That Bottle,” “Love,” and “I Got the Boy.” She did a cover of Alanis Morissette’s “Ironic” before playing her second single, “Whiskey,” where she climbed on the speaker next to the stage to reach out to the crowd as they sang along. As Jana got back to the stage she asked, “Where my single guys at tonight?! This is my last show as a single girl, so when you get in my car (Don’t Touch My) Radio!” as she jumped into the song. The crowd went berserk when they started Shania Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like A Woman!” which turned into a full mash up including Echosmith’s “Cool Kids” and ended in Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
After a dance-off with her two step sons and members of her band, and spending some time on the barricade, Jana she hopped back onstage and went into “I Hope It Rains” and the crowd started chanting about One Tree Hill. She laughed and asked “How many tree-hillers do we have?!” Most of the crowd screamed. She chuckled again and switched up the set list and said, “This was my very first song from One Tree Hill.” As she played “I Won’t Give Up.”
Returning back to the original setlist, Jana finished strong with “Love” and her current single, “I Got The Boy.” Jana joked around, saying it was about her high school sweetheart, and apologized to her fiancé (who was side stage). Her final song of the night was “Why Ya Wanna.” The crowd sang along the entire night, making it for an enjoyable night.