Sugarland brought the big top to life Thursday night when their Still the Same Tour pitched its tent at Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena.
The ever-changing stage often mirrors the red-and-white circus motif on the cover of the duo’s reunion album, Bigger, while Jennifer Nettles effectively serves as the show’s ringmaster. In Music City, she frequently added elaborate coats and fake fur to her pink-sequined jumpsuit, leaving no doubt she’s the master of ceremonies.
The evening started with the title track of the new record from Jennifer and Kristian Bush, and ended with an all-star guitar jam tribute to Prince. In between, Sugarland served up all their hits, including their latest one, “Babe,” which features Taylor Swift.
Jennifer and Kristian also took a moment to acknowledge what they’d been up to during their hiatus, performing their biggest solo tunes: “Unlove You” and “Trailer Hitch,” respectively.
The Nashville audience reacted positively as Jennifer strapped on her guitar to do Patty Griffin’s classic, “Tony,” as they’ve done throughout the tour. Statistics about suicide in the LGBTQ community are projected onscreen, as the Georgia native sings the heartbreaking tune about a teen who took his own life.
The night’s emotional high point, however, came as Jennifer delivered a heartfelt take on the duo’s debut #1 single, “Baby Girl,” tearing up during the tune about making it in the music business and thanking her parents, who were in the audience.
Openers Lindsay Ell and Frankie Ballard returned for the encore, taking turns shredding on guitar as they paid tribute to Prince with “Let’s Go Crazy.”
The high-energy Still the Same trek continues this weekend, stopping in Duluth, Georgia and Greenville, South Carolina, as it continues through the fall.
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