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The beginning of Minnesota's country concert season is off to a great start, when Sugarland rocked the Target Center. Variety would be the night's theme, Jennifer and Kristian delivered everything from sexy soul, some good ole fashioned bluegrass, disco, beautiful ballads and of course the hard driving country they are famous for.
The night started when they took the stage to over 8,000 screaming fans as they sang "Love" off their current album, Love On The Inside.
Intensity is the only thing I can think of to describe Jennifer's delivery of this song. She captured your attention and held it for the remainder of the evening.
The crowd cheered as they delievered hit after hit beginning with "Settlin'," "It Happens" and "Want To." After that, it was time for me to leave the photo pit and return to my seat for the remainder of the show. We were all given bubbles and glow sticks prior to the show. Kristian was the first to direct us to fill the arena with bubbles as they performed "Night Swimming" and "Joey."
The band gathered round for an old fashioned bluegrass revival during "Genevieve" followed by an slow dramatic version of "Blood On Snow."
After a quick set change, Jennifer teased the crowd by asking them if they knew what time it was. Kristian was holding up his guitar over his head and Jennifer announced that it was time to give away Kristian's guitar. After they had both signed it, Kristian began scouting the audience for the perfect fan to give it too.
Jennifer called the little "Sweetpea" to the front of the stage and asked her if she was going to learn how to play so she could come back next year and play a song with them on stage. The crowd roared it's approval at the invitation.
Time to bust out the glow sticks as they played "Genius Of Love" and their disco portion of the show with a medley of "Into the Groove," "Holiday" and "Best Of My Love." The crowd was into it and singing along when prompted by Jennifer and Kristian.
Now, back to the music they made famous, as "Everyday America" had everyone on their feet. However the best part of the night for me was Jennifer's emotionally charged performance of "Stay," a perfect blending of voice and lyric earned this gifted singer/songwriter a Grammy.
After catching our breath, the show continued on with "Who Says You Can't Go Home" that showcased clips of Minnesota's professional sports teams and the Minneapolis skyline as the crowd cheered approval.
The show attempted to end with "Something More" but the unrelenting chant of the crowd brought duo back for an encore that would include "Baby Girl," a slow sinful "Sex on Fire," a soulful version of "So Long" and the infectious fun of "Love Shack" that included Jennifer sporting a huge white Afro wig.
As I sit down to write this recap and look through my pictures I am reminded of what great fun this show was. Was it unconventional? Probably. However, it brings the fans a step closer to understanding the influences that mold their style.
After seeing Sugarland in action tonight, The sky is the limit for this versatile group. I don't think there is anything this group can't accomplish musically if they set their minds to it, and by the looks of it, their fans will gladly follow along. What a fantastic start to the 2009 concert season.