July 6th was a big day for Sugarland. They released their 6th studio album “Bigger” (first in 8 years) and played the first of two sold out nights at the Fallsview Casino in Niagara Falls, Ontario. After being away from the road for about 6 years, fans were asking themselves; can Sugarland recapture the magic that made them one of country’s most entertaining acts? Will the duo of Jennifer Nettles (vocals and guitar) and Kristian Bush (guitar and vocals) be as dynamic as they were before when they took their long hiatus? These questions were answer tenfold at the end of this review.
The duo appeared before a silhouette moving about and getting the crowd riled up. As soon as the room went dark, the first few rows of people rushed the stage and then the curtain dropped. Coming out wearing a white and black striped jumpsuit, Nettles was all smiles moving about and singing “Bigger.” Bush was right by her side all smiles himself with his traditional brixton hat he wears playing and tossing out guitar picks to lucky fans. They were accompanied by 2 guitar players, a bassist, drummer, keyboardist and a backup vocalist.
They key to the show was the interaction between the two. You would have no idea they have ever been apart at all over the last 6 years. The interaction between them was fluid all night long. They played off of each other came together to sing choruses and even hugged each other a few times throughout the show. You can say the camaraderie was over flowing and they had plenty of admiration for each other as well.
Sugarland focused on new material as 5 songs were performed including “On a Roll” which led into snippets of “We Want the Funk,” “Billie Jean” and “Express Yourself.” One of the women dancing in front of her seat had Nettles memorized to the point where she lost track where she was which caused a the rest of the audience to laugh and even Nettles herself partaken at laughing at herself.
Nettles vocals were spot on as she dove into “Stay” and showed she still has that range and maybe even sounded better than she did a few a years ago. Both Bush and Nettles played a solo song each in their set but they were perfectly placed within the confines of the set and kept the momentum going. The mood tempered some when everyone left the stage and it was just the keyboardist and both Nettles and Bush for “Stay.”
Of course, what’s a Sugarland show without hearing their biggest hits in “Stuck Like Glue” and “Want To.” They performed their newest single “Babe” that was written by Taylor Swift. Bush played the mandolin and Nettles dusted off the acoustic guitar for “Baby Girl.” She even acknowledged a fan holding a phone saying “I see you baby girl” during the song. The intimacy of the entire night was the highlight for most I would say.
The band had to scale back their show due to playing a casino, but they still packed a punch for the 17 songs they did perform. You can say the questions asked above in the first paragraph were answered with a resounding yes!
All I Want to Do
Stuck Like Glue
Lean It on Back
Trailer Hitch (Bush solo song)
Unlove You (Nettles solo song)
Let Me Remind You
On a Roll – Medley: We Want the Funk (George Clinton cover) / Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)/ Express Yourself (Madonna cover)
Not the Only
We would like to thank Jennifer Ferguson from the Fallsview Casino for the credentials to review the show.