Review: In San Diego concert, Miranda Lambert takes the audience on an emotional roller coaster


‘That’s the way that the world goes ’round; One minute you’re up and the next you’re down,” go the lyrics of “That’s the Way the World Goes ’Round” from Miranda Lambert’s 2009 “Revolution” album.

Up and down was exactly what happened Thursday night when the country singer took the crowd at San Diego’s Viejas Arena on an emotional roller coaster from the first note to the last.

The night kicked off on a high note with audience members quickly jumping up to their feet.

Lambert — dressed in sparkly tights, a jean mini-skirt topped with a killer orange and pink fringe-lined long-sleeve top, and (because why not) fringe cowboy boots — admitted mid-show that she makes it her mission to come on stage and make the crowd feel every emotion possible.

“Because,” she said, “that’s what music does — it heals.”

The hour-and-a-half set contained 21 songs, including a single-song encore.

Here’s a look at the sentiments of the night.

It’s expected for a show to launch with cheers from the crowd, but the excited pitch after Lambert took the stage only increased when she started with “That’s the Way the World Goes Round.” The glitzed-out tambourine Lambert grabbed to end the song capitalized on the feeling.

The show meandered from excitement to a bit of defeat in “Kerosene.” After all, “I’m giving up on love, cause love’s given up on me,” she belted out. And then on to some loneliness in “Highway Vagabond.”

Over the course of the show, emotions went every which way, but it was the sadness that really pulled on the heartstrings of the audience. Standing up on stage and wearing her heart on her sleeve is where Lambert shined.

During “Over You,” it did not matter who you were — young, old, man, woman, single, married, drunk or sober — you couldn’t help but feel sadness coursing through the arena. It was a powerful sadness — and for good reason.

The lyrics were co-written by Lambert and ex-husband and country singer Blake Shelton about Shelton’s experience of losing his older brother in a car accident. “Over You” won the Country Music Awards “Song of the Year” in 2012 and the Academy of Country Music award for “Song of the Year” in 2013.

Sadness and vulnerability continued with Lambert taking the stage alone to play her guitar and sing a moving version of “Tin Man.” From her most recent album “The Weight of These Wings,” the song cautions the “Wizard of Oz” character to be careful what he wishes for because “If you ever felt one breaking; You’d never want a heart.”

In a concert environment, there’s always a chance that if emotions dip too low, it might be tough to lift the audience back up, but that was not the case on Thursday night. The music, both lyrically and from the accompanying band, had a way of healing and allowing the audience to move through the various emotions of the night.

Lambert has an aura about her that makes her relatable — whether she’s bouncing around the stage in her “Pink Sunglasses” or a woman scorned singing “Gunpowder & Lead.” And, if an emotional roller coaster of ups and downs was what she was after in her Livin’ Like Hippies Tour, then count this night as a success.

Opening notes

If opening acts got encores, Jon Pardi would have taken one on Thursday night. The California native had fans in a nearly full arena on their feet during his whole 12-song performance.

He appropriately took the stage to “Jukebox Hero” (a Foreigner hit), because if Viejas Arena were a bar, patrons would have been lining up to insert quarters to hear more of Pardi’s hits.

Maybe it was the gyrating while singing “A little dirty dancing, blue collar romancing” in tight jeans and a slightly unbuttoned muscle shirt during “Dirt on My Boots” or the relatable “California Sunset” after a incredibly bright orange San Diego sunset that welcomed concert-goers to the arena, but whatever it was, Pardi had the crowd dialed in.