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Sugarland brings a smile to Milwaukee

Bradley Center
Milwaukee, WI
Sept. 18, 2009
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Review and photos by Jeannette VanKanegan
Videos submitted by Sugarland fan

Illuminated white umbrellas and thunderous applause helped guide Sugarland to the front of the stage at the Bradley Center in Milwaukee last week. Jennifer Nettles looked amazing in black leggings with knee high maroon go-go boots, and a beige and black top. Her hair was done very simply. Kristian Bush looked handsome as always, with a very simple look - a black cowboy hat, black sweater and plaid pants.

The show opened up with the song "Love" with Jennifer's joyful voice cascading higher throughout the entire venue on this sweet ballad. "Settlin" and the gritty hit "It Happens" displayed their knack for original down-home country. At the end of the song, Jennifer busted out the "Carlton Dance" (made popular on The Fresh Prince). Her sense of humor shined brightly while on stage. Their natural energy kept the audience rooted on their feet the entire time. They have this natural charm that blends so well with Jennifer's quirkiness and Kristian's lovable goofiness.

Sugarland made sure to thank the fans every chance they got. Jennifer kept saying "Ya'll are so sweet" throughout the show. Sugarland randomly gave away an autographed guitar to a very excited audience member. A memento surely more memorable than a crumpled up ticket stub. They sang all of their popular hits, including their debut single "Baby Girl" which had the audience singing along in perfect unison. Unfurling a white umbrella Jennifer started into the teen tragedy "Joey" with Kristian bringing out the textural qualities of the song with his inspired guitar work. The band then lit into the bittersweet "Already Gone" as chandeliers came down from the ceiling - creating a romantic mood on stage. "Do you feel sexy Milwaukee?" Jennifer asked, before she sang "What I'd Give" with two pink spotlights accentuating her already bountiful feminine charms. Their huge hit "All I Want To Do" had some audience members form a train that went around the arena, until they reached the front. They then all spread out and made a sea of people in the front section of seats. There was no way security could control it, so the lucky conductors got to stay there for the rest of the show.

"Everyday America," was remixed Sugarland style. The remix included "Celebration" (Madonna), "Hot In Here" (Nelly), "Rock With You" (Michael Jackson), and "Best Of My Love" (The Emotions). Things slowed down a bit after that with the very popular song "Stay," in which Jennifer's voice was pure and beautiful.

Bringing up the excitement again, they sang "Who Says You Can't Go Home" Kristian is not Bon Jovi, (who originally sang the song with Jennifer Nettles) but they still did a great job with the song. Jennifer introduced the next song with a bit of philosophy on breakups "music is cheaper than therapy." Jennifer than sat at the piano while singing their new song, "So Long." While she was jamming the chords on the piano, she started singing "Milwaukee, Wisconsin, somebody give me some cheese curds."

As the strobe lights went wild there was a collective anticipation that something big was about to happen. Two gigantic bubbles were blowing up on each side of the stage. When they were complete, Jennifer and Kristian climbed inside. They each rolled over the audience, with members hands to guide them across. It was definitely a new form of crowd surfing. The Flaming Lips might have done it first, but who wouldn't get excited when a giant plastic orb bounces overhead with your favorite wide-eyed star inside. The band ended the night with a spirited cover of "Walking On Sunshine."

Sugarland has everything going for it right now - a couple of sexy stars who never take themselves too seriously, a bevy of intelligently written songs and a connection with their audience that comes straight from the heart.

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