Miranda Lambert was there. And it was a concert. It just wasn’t a Miranda Lambert concert.
It was more like a musicians-and-songwriters-singing-songs-they-love concert. Or as it’s also known, covers night. The Sunday night show was billed as a monster jam session at Joe’s Bar to celebrate Lambert’s upcoming 25th birthday. About 30 songs were played, but only a handful were country. And only a couple were Lambert songs.
But if the crowd was disappointed by the lack of Lambert’s self-penned tunes, they hid it well. The fans maintained their enthusiasm for her for 21/2 hours, even when she left the stage a few times to let her band and friends get their shot at the spotlight.
Even her dad, Rick Lambert, picked up a guitar and came out to do “Trashy Women,” the early ’90s country hit made famous by Jerry Jeff Walker and Confederate Railroad.
When Lambert sang, it was about covering the songs that measured up to her demanding standards. She wasn’t about to just sing the textbook country covers. “For my own birthday, I thought we’d do the songs we really like,” she explained. So while the rest of the world is doing its own takes on Johnny Cash hits, Lambert wasn’t reaching quite that far back when she did Jack Ingram’s “Wherever You Are” and Dierks Bentley’s “Come a Little Closer.” And if anyone doubted this young thing could sing when the guitars were turned off, she put those questions to rest with her hypnotic a cappella ending to Roberta Flack’s “Killing Me Softly With His Song.”
Lambert’s boyfriend and fellow country star Blake Shelton was there to fete her with music and humor. He started his set playing a pink guitar, singing the FreeCreditReport.com jingle and warning the audience how terrible he was going to be. “Don’t y’all be YouTubing this, because this is gonna suck so bad,” he said. What didn’t suck, though, was when he lent his own rich voice to Lambert’s “Famous in a Small Town.” But on “We’re Not Gonna Take It” (Twisted Sister), Shelton was visibly out of his element as he read the lyrics off a sheet of paper. Referring to Lambert’s hard-rocking five-man band as his band-in-law, he said: “My band is actually country. So I don’t have any clue what to do with these guys.”