"She is Reba ... She is Kelly." Keeping with the trend of combining a couple's names, maybe they should call the tour "Rebelly." Together their voices resonated off the walls of Taco Bell Arena last Thursday. Both ladies are class acts, and talk about making the most of their instruments ... each possesses a set of pipes that could bust an eardrum if they so desired. McEntire has been singing a long time and her vocals are lovely, controlled and sweet. Clarkson has a powerful and fantastic voice—a little green with the amplification on the microphone—and a great range that she can really belt out. No one in the audience seemed to mind the volume; after all, witnessing a couple of talented singers do their thing is a beautiful way to lose some hearing.
The women's voices blended and balanced one another out and they clearly appreciated each other's songs, vocals and signature styles. It was fun to see them switch between center stage and background. One would take the spotlight during a more popular songs while the other stood behind adding backup harmony joining the super talented band on stage.
McEntire's fans come in many forms as do Clarkson's. As the first winner of American Idol, Clarkson hasn't been idle since winning what has become one of the most-watched talent shows in TV history. Instead, she has pumped out some major hits and her fans run the gamut from teenybopper to middle-aged people.
And all those fans were losing their collective minds at Taco Bell screaming, "I love you Reba," and "We love you Kelly." One woman, hooting and hollering, had to be peeled down off the side rails and physically removed by security. She nearly took out a couple rows of chairs trying to high-five surrounding fans. Another cowgirl-type didn't quite get it that the "2 Worlds, 2 Voices Tour" would feature duets with McEntire and Clarkson and was quite disappointed that she wouldn't be hearing just McEntire's songs. But that boot-scooting toots was definitely in the minority. The man I stood next to knew every single song in both women's catalogs and we both danced and swayed to the powerful ballads, swing dance songs and rock country selections through the entire show.
The concert began with a comedy routine by McEntire's TV co-star, the hilarious Melissa Peterman. She razzed McEntire and her fame, poking fun with bits like, "I'm Reba McEntire, bring me some water." "Bring me a stool to sit on, I'm Reba McEntire." Obvious the women share a fondness for one another and the ribbing at Reba's expense was very funny.
Dressed in a shiny, bedazzled tie-dyed tank top and black jeans and topped with perfectly coiffed red hair, McEntire is country beauty personified. With all those people as my witness, I swear a few songs brought tears to Reba's already sparking blue eyes making them shine even brighter. Pausing between performances to lap up the applause, humility and appreciation were evident on her face. McEntire loves what she does and her fans couldn't be more receptive to her easy charm.
Kelly's bouncy curls and funny stories between songs helped her connect with the crowd. She recounted the first time she heard a McEntire song when one of her friends popped a CD (CD? Oh, baby girl, I first heard the red-haired singer on cassette tape back in the day) into the stereo and at that very instant McEntire became a hero of Clarkson's.
Along on the tour with the duo on their stop in Boise, Clarkson's own mother was in the crowd, so a few of the songs the ladies sang were at "Mama's request."
At one point in one of her stories, Clarkson realized she was rambling and said, "I'm horrible at talking." She is a fine storyteller, but an even more impressive singer.
Seeing the two together made for a great concert. I have been a fan of McEntire's for years and after seeing Clarkson live, I'm now another one of her middle-aged fans. But even so, I will never need to be pried down from the rafters.