New York and New Jersey fans alike headed to the Prudential Center on Saturday night to witness the captivating musical duo Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush of Sugarland perform their second to last show on the ‘Still the Same Tour,’ accompanied by openers, Lindsay Ell and Frankie Ballard.
Powerhouse, Lindsay Ell took the stage first, sharing with the crowd that this will be her last performance on the tour. She entertained fans with songs like “Waiting on You” and “Champagne”. The singer ended her set with her top 20 single, “Criminal,” co-written by Bush, just after expressing her gratitude to the fans. “Thank you, everyone and country radio for changing my life with this song. This is”Criminal” y’all!”
After a short intermission, Frankie Ballard and his Wildcat Band energetically took the stage. Pumping up the crowd throughout the entire performance, Ballard’s set was the perfect combination of his smash hits, cover songs, and engaging moments with the crowd. Singing his hits, “Helluva Night,” “It All Started with a Beer,” “Sunshine and Whiskey,” and “Young & Crazy,” the singer’s funky style and electric demeanor was evident.
One of the most charming moments with the entertainer was when he admitted to the audience that he “missed [his] spot in that verse,” laughing, while stating, “When they [singers] say ‘How’s everyone feeling out there,’ it’s just a way of covering up their tracks.” Between, Ballard’s humbleness, his image, and his artistry, fans showed their love for the performer the entire set.
The incredible night of music continued, as the stage lit up with a colorful, carnival-like backdrop, unveiling the headliners of the night, Sugarland, as they jammed to their title track “Bigger” off their recently released album. Their set featured an impressive 20 songs, including their most recent single “Babe,” and hits, “Stay,” “It Happens,” “Stuck Like You,” and “Lean It On Back,” with two more songs for the encore performance.
Additionally, Nettles and Bush, each took time to discuss their solo projects, that were worked on, during the duo’s 5-year hiatus. Bush sang his fun-loving single, “Trailer Hitch,” while Nettles belted her ballad “Unlove You.” The crowd was clearly loving both, as they sang, swayed, and snapped along to each performance.
Sugarland’s night was filled with highlights, such as their fun mash-up of their song “On a Roll” with Funkadelic’s “We Want The Funk” and Michael Jackson’s “Billie Jean,” where Ell entered the stage on roller-skates, poking fun at the lyrics from “On a Roll.” The fans loved the impromptu end-of-tour prank and interaction Ell had on stage with the duo.
However, the night was stolen by the beautiful message that was inspired by the fan favorite song “Little Miss” from The Incredible Machine. The singers showcased a fan-made video for The Little Miss Project. The powerful message of The Little Miss Project is to start a dialogue that an individual is never truly alone. Supporting this mission, Sugarland utilized their musical platform to partner with World Vision in efforts to raise money for disadvantaged youth, even stopping to take a photo (on stage) with fans, who donated to the cause. Nettles shared “It’s a reminder that sometimes we have to slow down and save a life … It’ll be alright again.”
Sugarland truly brought their own level of talent and artistry to New Jersey, it was an unforgettable night for fans of all ages, who were lucky to attend.
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