Despite an unseasonal thunderstorm at Mission Hill’s 1200-seat amphitheatre last night, Martina McBride swept the stage with good vibes, a tight band and an incredible range. The heavens themselves seemed like they were moved by McBride’s powerhouse vocals, and after a few false stops, the rain dissipated and the sea of umbrellas gave way to dancing in the aisles.
McBride’s Everlasting Tour sees the noted country singer make a slight detour from her typical fare – covers of everyone from Dusty Springfield’s “Son of a Preacher Man” to Pink’s “F*cking Perfect” were intermixed with the classic crowd-pleasers and ballads.
Another was the inclusion of a 4-member brass section that was perfectly in-sync, both in pitch and with synchronized hand gestures that went along with their bright red vests. When introduced, local Langley boy Tyler Summers led the crowd in a rousing rendition of O Canada on sax, a perfect moment in the history of Canadian-American relations. The new brass section was quite the hit with the crowd, and even comes equipped with its own cheeky twitter account.
Some of the best moments were when the band and backup singers went off-stage, leaving the 11-time Grammy nominee with only a piano or acoustic guitar for backup. Stripped down, McBride’s lyrics took on a poignant relevancy, especially with the hopeful omen to small moments, “In My Daughter’s Eyes.”
The core band has played together for years, and McBride clearly recognizes and honours each one of them as musicians first. Greg Foresman on electric/acoustic guitar had some crazy solos that happened every other song. McBride herself seemed to rise higher with every passing moment, sipping some kind of hot beverage while she powered through the scales with finesse. The singer was super playful with the audience as well, giving special shout-outs to Kelowna and handling the more lubricated people in the crowd (this is a winery, after all) with professional and good-natured sass.
McBride excels at breaking past country stereotypes about leaving a man, loving a man, or wanting a man. From launching the night with “When God-Fearin’ Women Get The Blues” to breaking out “This One’s For The Girls” at a brilliantly long encore, McBride’s long career has been all about empowerment, and the audience was there for the ride with her.
Here are some more photos from the night:
And last but not least, a special shout-out to Andres, the most hardworking guy of the night. That guy’s awesome.
Find out more about the Mission Hill Family Estate’s Summer Concert Series here.