Concert review: Miranda Lambert sticks to her roots

Cowgirl up: Miranda Lambert plays the Pearl.
Photo: Edison Graff

The Details

Miranda Lambert
three and a half stars
The Pearl, December 10
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As Miranda Lambert has moved further into the country mainstream, racking up awards and chart hits, some of the outlaw edges of her music have rubbed off. Her sold-out concert at the Pearl on Saturday was her biggest Vegas show yet, and the crowd responded enthusiastically to the set mostly drawn from Lambert’s 2009 album Revolution. Her biggest hit to date is the generic Nashville-factory greeting card “The House That Built Me,” which got easily the biggest reaction of the night, with the crowd singing along to every word. But it didn’t obscure grittier songs like “Gunpowder & Lead,” “Kerosene” and “Dead Flowers,” and Lambert put just as much energy into deep cuts as she did into hit singles. And while her bassist may have traded his mohawk for a more conservative haircut, she still has her mic stand made from an old shotgun.

Most important, she retained her inclusive attitude, throwing in covers from classic rock (“The Weight,” “Rock and Roll, Hoochie Koo”) to rebel country (Steve Earle’s “Hillbilly Highway,” Merle Haggard’s “The Way I Am”) and stepping aside to showcase her band members as well as openers Eric Church and Josh Kelley. The life story she recounts as an intro to “Heart Like Mine” has already become a concert staple and an essential part of her personal mythology. As much as she may be embracing the Nashville machine, Lambert is still making music her own way, and she proved that even on a larger scale, she isn’t going to lose her unique charm.


Josh Bell

Josh Bell is the film editor for Las Vegas Weekly, where he's been writing movie and TV reviews since 2002. ...

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  • At this point, the only constant from album to album is the band’s dedication to ambition.

  • Bassist Nate Brenner partners with leader Merrill Garbus for an approachable and dancey record.

  • “This record has very little insecurity. It was a blast to make, and it’s really fun to play live.”

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