Friday, Dec. 3, 2021 | 2 a.m.
If executives at Resorts World Las Vegas harbored any worries about having Carrie Underwood as the opening act at their Resorts World Theatre, the country superstar’s Wednesday night performance should have put their minds at ease.
Underwood, who gained fame after winning Season 4 of “American Idol” and has since gone on to win multiple Grammy Awards over a 16-year career, opened her “Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency” at the venue 162 days after the resort’s June 24 opening. Originally, French-Canadian singer Celine Dion was tabbed to christen the theater Nov. 5 with a residency that was postponed due to what were called “unforeseen medical symptoms.”
The 90-minute show featured Underwood’s seven-person band, a cast of dancers, a host of aerialists and acrobats, dazzling stage sets and, of course, the headliner.
In previewing her “Reflection” residency, Underwood said the show would “reflect the amazing journey I’ve been on for the past 16 years, as well as a glimpse into what lies ahead.” And it did, from “Jesus Take the Wheel” — her first chart hit from 2005 — to 2019’s “Drinking Alone.”
In all, she sang 16 songs from her catalog.
In singing the 2008 hit “All-American Girl,” she bopped from side to side of the theater stage, smiling broadly — clearly enjoying herself in the moment. She remarked that when the song first came out and she performed it on the road, she often would bring a little girl from the audience onstage to sing with her. And though she didn’t bring a little girl onstage for the song Wednesday, she did summon a bachelorette celebrating her pending nuptials to sing alongside. Suffice it to say that the woman, Regina from Las Vegas, was an animated and welcome addition to the night’s lineup.
Throughout the evening, Underwood sparkled — her wardrobe, from head to foot, and her powerful and stunning voice. She literally shook the house when “Jesus Take the Wheel” morphed into “How Great Thou Art.”
“Two Black Cadillacs”
“Jesus Take the Wheel”/”How Great Thou Art”
“Flat on the Floor”
“Rock and Roll” (Led Zeppelin)*
“Before He Cheats”
* Band introductions
Also shining bright were the stage sets, designed by Nick Whitehouse, CEO of Nashville, Tenn.-based Fireplay. They included a throne fashioned from chrome exhaust pipes, and the hood and fins of a Cadillac. Underwood emerged from underneath the stage on the throne to perform “Two Black Cadillacs.”
For the hit “Before He Cheats,” a Jeep was lowered from above to the stage where four dancers “took a Louisville slugger to both headlights” before Underwood set the vehicle on fire at the end of the song. It was a spectacular visual that left the audience amazed.
But the inferno soon was left to play second fiddle to the finale.
After a brief interlude, Underwood reappeared on what was described as a “never-before-seen water wall feature.” The scene was otherworldly, with Underwood singing “Something in the Water” from a cutout in the middle of the wall, with water cascading from the top and a group of soaked performers frolicking nearby. Behind and above the wall, a waterfall of fireworks completed the setting.
“Reflection: The Las Vegas Residency,” continues at 8 p.m. today, Saturday and Wednesday, plus Dec. 10 and 11 at the Resorts World Theatre. Additional shows in 2022 are set for March 23, 25, 26 and 30, April 1 and 2, and 11, and May 13, 14, 18, 20 and 21. Tickets are available online here and here. Tickets for the May dates are available beginning at 10 a.m. Monday.