Sugarland: The Incredible Machine Tour w/ Julianne Hough & Vonda Shepard

Sugarland, country’s newest superduo, brought their Incredible Machine Tour to Phoenix’s Cricket Wireless Pavillion on Sunday night and delivered a high energy show. Also on the bill was Dancing with the Stars alum Julianne Hough and pianist-singer Vonda Shepard.

Kicking the show off with a small 30 minute set was Shepard. I had never heard of her before the show and was impressed with her vocal talent. Vonda sat behind the keyboard during the entire set and was only backed up by two guitarists, who also served as back up vocalists. To be honest, I don’t remember any of the song names but she ended the set with the theme to the hit show, Ally Mcbeal.

After a quick 10 minute intermission, two-time Dancing with the Stars champion turned country singer, Julianne Hough, took the stage. Dressed in a shimmery short gold dress and matching cowboy boots, Hough delivered a new country-pop song, titled “What Are You Waiting For?”. She steamed rolled through more songs from her next album and only delivered two songs, “My Hallelujah Song” and “That Song in My Head,” from her debut album. Among the highlights was the song she claimed defines who she is, “Wildfire,” and the Sarah Buxton song “Love is a Trip.” Throughout her set, Hough had three costume changes which included a long flowing gown and a shorter than short dance suit that showed off her legs. Based on the songs in her set, the second album will be more pop and less country.

After an intermission, Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush hit the stage. They started their opening song, “Love on the Inside,” behind a sheet that dramatically fell while the song picked up pace. The crowd was on its feet from the beginning chords of the song and never sat down during the nearly 90 minute set. The duo moved right into fan favorites “It Happens” and “Settlin’.” It’s easy to see the chemistry the two artistic partners have as they were often dancing back to back and and seemingly feeding off each other’s energy. It’s no wonder the duo has already received a CMA nomination for Entertainer of the Year.

The tour’s, pegged as the Incredible Machine Tour, theme was easily seen in their stage design. Filled with gigantic gears, screws, and lights the stage looked as if you were at a ride at Disneyland. There was also a giant circle screen that seemd to feature Nettles more than Bush.

When in concert, Sugarland is known for its cover songs just as much as their own and this tour was no different. During their hit “Everyday America,” Nettles launched into what she called the remix which included Beyonce’s “Single Ladies (Put A Ring on It),” the Jackson 5’s “ABC, 123,” and Miley Cyrus’ “Party in the U.S.A.” While introducing their bandmates, Nettles did an impromptu cover of Lady Gaga’s “Telephone.” They also ended their encore with Blondie’s “Heart of Gold.”

Though the crowd loved to dance and singalong with their more uptempo numbers, it was the two acoustic performances that stole the show. The first was with show opener Vonda Shepard and was a song from their Love on the Inside album, “Very Last Country Song.” Jennifer and Vonda’s voices sounded perfect together and added more to the song. The other acoustic song was the band’s award-winning song, “Stay,” which had almost everyone in the audience singing along.

Among the other songs in their setlist were “Already Gone,” “All I Want to Do,” “Baby Girl,” and the show ending “Something More.”

If the machine rolls through a town near you, it’s a must see show and will have you dancing all night long!

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