Martina McBride embraces connection over perfection, joined by promising country up-and-comers

Martina McBride Photos by Andy Argyrakis

Prior to Martina McBride appearing in person at the landmark Chicago Theatre, she told the audience via the video screens that her “Love Unleased” outing would exclusively focus on positivity rather than all the world’s many troubles. The statement earned quite a hearty cheer from those gathered, and throughout nearly two hours, it was reinforced in a variety of musical messages about overcoming obstacles, celebrating victories and all-around empowerment.

That mutual admiration locked firmly in place come “This One’s For The Girls” and “Wild Angels,” amplified all the more by “Independence Day” during which McBride boldly dropped the mic on her way off for an encore as a statement of further liberation.

But first, McBride had a bit of a hurdle to conquer, as she burst out from behind a silhouetted curtain to the sunny sounds of “Love’s The Only House,” but had no sound coming out of the microphone. It took her a moment to notice the technical malfunction, though rather than throwing a diva-like tantrum, she simply shrugged her shoulders, held out her hands and had everyone sing-a-long.

Martina McBrideWhen the problem was finally fixed, she and a six-piece band spent the rest of the set switching between upbeat country selections, glorious ballads and even occasional flirtations with soul. That meant everything from previous favorites “Valentine,” “When God-Fearin’ Women Get The Blues” and “In My Daughter’s Eyes,” to the current “It Ain’t Pretty” (featuring McBride playing piano) and “Reckless” (by far the album of the same name’s most invigorating track).

Along the way, the long-established star sounded mostly like herself, but occasionally fell a little flat, perhaps tied to the whatever the reason she had a nearby tray stocked with tea and a spray bottle (next to a standard supply of water). McBride never specifically addressed if she was under the weather, but did admit the live experience is never exactly perfect while nonetheless sensing a deep connection with the crowd, who regularly showered her with appreciation and seemed unaware (or at least indifferent) to any limitations.

In fact, that mutual admiration locked firmly in place come “This One’s For The Girls” and “Wild Angels,” amplified all the more by “Independence Day” during which McBride boldly dropped the mic on her way off for an encore as a statement of further liberation. Similar stances of assertiveness came from the supporting Lauren Alaina, a firecracker entertainer and witty songwriter worth investigating, plus harmony-heavy collaborative openers Maggie Rose and Post Monroe, all of whom added artistic and lyrical promise to an uplifting evening.


Click here for more Martina McBride photos and here for more Lauren Alaina, Maggie Rose and Post Monroe photos from the Chicago Theatre.

For additional information on Martina McBride, visit MartinaMcBride.com.

For a list of upcoming shows at the Chicago Theatre, visit TheChicagoTheatre.com.

For a list of upcoming shows from Live Nation, visit LiveNation.com.

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