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!

Setlist:

 

Bigger

All I Want to Do

Stuck Like Glue

Want To

Lean It on Back

Trailer Hitch (Bush solo song)

Unlove You (Nettles solo song)

Incredible Machine

Let Me Remind You

Settlin’

On a Roll – Medley: We Want the Funk (George Clinton cover) / Billie Jean (Michael Jackson cover)/ Express Yourself (Madonna cover)

Babe

It Happens

Stay

Baby Girl

 

Encore:

 

Not the Only

Something More

 

Photo Gallery

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We would like to thank Jennifer Ferguson from the Fallsview Casino for the credentials to review the show.

About The Author Gus

My first opportunity to write about music was with Kissunderground, featuring just one band (KISS). In 2006, I started working for another outlet that showcased more musicians. It was a great experience for me at the time. I personally nailed down some great interviews during my time at glam-metal.com (Paul Stanley, Jonathan Davis, Slash and Sully Erna to name a few). In early 2009, I decided to venture out on my own with the idea of creating a website that has all the offerings that a reader would want in a music review website. That's when Backstageaxxess.com began. I’m so proud of what was created here and of our staff that brings it to you. Each one offers a diverse opinion and a creative ability to share it in a unique way. We are so lucky to have them here. When discussing making a list of favorite shows with the staff, I also found it hard to narrow that list down to a select handful of shows. Everyone experiences a concert in their own terms, whether it’s the show itself, maybe it’s the people you met there and the new friendships created, or maybe it was meeting the artist at the show. For my criteria, I tried to stick to just the show itself, but again, it was sometimes hard to do. My first concert was Sammy Hagar’s first tour with Van Halen at the Niagara Falls Convention Center, Niagara Falls, NY, on August 30, 1986. My favorites are as follows: 1. Kiss – Tiger Stadium - Detroit, Michigan 6/28/96 2. SARS (Rolling Stones, AC/DC, Rush, and handful of other bands) - Downsview Park – Toronto, Ontario 7/30/03 3. Paul McCartney (every McCartney show I saw was awesome, but Iwent with my first show) Air Canada Centre -Toronto, Ontario 10/10/05 4. Motley Crue – Memorial Auditorium – Buffalo, NY 12/19/89 5. Kid Rock – Tweeter Center - Camden, New Jersey 3/25/06 The honorable mentions would be any McCartney show (The Joint at the Hard Rock, Las Vegas, Nevada, April 2009 or Air Canada Centre Toronto, Ontario 8/10/10), Prince (Club 2112) at the Rio Hotel, Las Vegas 12/30/07, Heart (Pulse Lounge * only 200 people) Hilton Hotel, Anaheim, California, January 21,2008, Monsters of Rock (Van Halen, Scorpions, Metallica, Dokken, and Kingdom Come) Rich Stadium, Orchard Park, NY 6/19/88 and the Rocklahoma Festival (Queensryche, Lita Ford, Triumph, etc.). Also, Cher (with my mom) at the Blue Cross Arena Rochester, NY, November 22, 2004.