Reba McEntire. What can be said about Reba McEntire that has yet to be said? She can sing, she can act, and she can entertain unlike any other performer. McEntire is nothing short of a country music superstar. Packing a punch that contains more than 25 studio albums, over 90 released singles, a ton of number one hits, and more platinum and gold albums than an “Okie” can shake a stick at. Holding a well earned title, McEntire is often referred to as the “Queen of Country Music.” McEntire epitomizes what it means to be a country music artist. True to the music she records, humble by any and all standards, and one of the industry’s biggest philanthropists McEntire is adored by legions of loyal fans across the world. When she takes to the stage, McEntire never gives less than her best during any performance.
At precisely 8:30 PM, the lights dimmed in The Avalon Ballroom Theatre located at the Niagara Fallsview Casino. The sold out crowd erupted with cheers and applause as a video montage briefly summing up McEntire’s 40 year career started to play. The band took the stage. As soon as the lights came up McEntire walked out on stage and immediately broke into her first song of the night, “Can’t Even Get The Blues.” With true polished style, McEntire was dressed in a long sleeved black sequence top, accompanied by black pants, black knee high boots with just a touch of sparkle, and topped off was her famous red hair styled to perfection.
Song after song, McEntire ripped through her set list like a hot wildfire. Touching on some of her biggest hits, McEntire took the time to share some of the stories behind how she stumbled upon them. McEntire told the story of how she had almost passed on the opportunity to record a song penned by one of country music’s finest songwriters, Harlan Howard. “Then he played one more song. It was the saddest song I had ever heard. I recorded it and it became my fourth number one record.” explained McEntire just before she broke into “Somebody Should Leave.”
While McEntire pumped out songs like a jukebox, it was her ability to stop and continue to tell some of the stories and short tales behind her songs that really allowed the evening to seem just that much more intimate. When you have a career that spans across four decades, chances are you’re going to have some stories to share. McEntire shared everything from her movie adventures, to her humble beginnings as a country artist, and even touching on the exciting birth of her granddaughter, River Rose. One of my favorite stories of the evening was when McEntire talked about seeing herself in her very first music video on television. “Back before CMT, GAC, and YouTube, music video’s were often played late in the night between movies on HBO. I was sitting in a hotel room watching some movie on HBO.” explains Reba. “Then the movie ended and an Aretha Franklin video came on! Well right after it ended, they played mine. It was like I’d died, and gone to heaven.” The story was the perfect lead, right into McEntire’s performance of “Whoever’s in New England.”
The evening was filled with fan favorites and familiar tunes. McEntire’s set list included; “The Fear of Being Alone,” “One Promise Too Late,” “How Blue,” “Little Rock,” “You’re No Good / The Heart is a Lonely Hunter / You Lie / Falling Out of Love / Walk On / I’d Rather Ride Around With You,” “Why Not Tonight,” “For My Broken Heart,” “The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia,” “Is There Life Out There,” “Does He Love You ,” “Nothing to Lose,” “Because of You,” “Take It Back / Why Haven’t I Heard from You,” “I’m a Survivor,” and “Turn On the Radio.” McEntire took time to change into her famed “red dress” before coming back out to perform the beloved hit, “Fancy” as her encore song.
McEntire’s 90 minute set was packed with songs spanning her entire career, but the performance of two brand new songs gained positive reactions from the crowd. McEntire took some time to perform the title track from her upcoming album, Love Somebody and her most recent single, “Going Out Like That.” Both sassy little numbers, McEntire explained that her upcoming album will be packed with everything her fans love and have come to expect, “We listened to almost a thousands of songs to find just the right ones for this new album.” Love Somebody is scheduled to hit music store shelves and iTunes on 14 April 2015.
Overall you cannot help but be impressed with the way McEntire captivates an entire audience. Vocally, at 60 years old McEntire is still top notch. Belting out hit after hit, and still sounding clear and precise takes a lot of hard work. That hard work was evident during her performances. With that grand smile and larger than life stage presence, fans applauded and cheered the entire night and couldn’t get enough. The Avalon Ballroom Theatre is a beautiful venue and was a fantastic place to be able to catch this gem of a country music artist perform.
McEntire played for two sold out nights (March 24 and 25) at the The Avalon Ballroom Theatre in the Niagara Fallsview Casino. The two shows were Reba’s final stops before she takes to the stage of The Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas with longtime friends, Brooks & Dunn. Reba, Brooks & Dunn: Together in Vegas is set to run shows in June, July, and December 2015. With the upcoming release of Love Somebody and her string of Vegas shows, McEntire’s career is still going full steam ahead. You can pre-order Love Somebody right now and keep up with everything that is Reba McEntire right here.