Lady Antebellum, one tight trio, impresses Merriweather Post audience
By: Emily Yahr
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 28, 2010
Lady Antebellum, the trio currently topping the Billboard country music charts, could have opened its headlining performance at this weekend's Sunday in the Country music festival with the over-the-top style (rock-and-roll intro, fog machines, laser lights) favored by so many successful acts. Instead, the Nashville-based group composed of Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood simply sauntered out onstage, all by themselves, and started to sing.
Accompanied only by Haywood on guitar, Scott and Kelley kicked off the show with a haunting, stripped-down rendition of "I Run to You," the trio's first No. 1 single, which debuted last year. It was an unexpected, but intimate, way to start in front of thousands at the sold-out event at Merriweather Post Pavilion. The subdued mood didn't last: A backup band slipped in behind them for the second song, "American Honey," starting a rollicking 90 minutes of music that seemed more fitting for a group whose career just keeps climbing. They launched their first headlining tour last week.
Scott, Kelley and Haywood's blended harmonies sounded spot-on as they went through their songs -- "Love Don't Live Here," "Lookin' for a Good Time," "Need You Now" -- that have burned up country radio. It became apparent that as intertwined as their vocals are in recorded form, the same holds true for their performances. The three stuck together, sonically as well as physically; they huddled on stage while performing in expertly synced rhythm. Whenever one broke away, it felt like a missing appendage.
Scott did a lovely solo of Bonnie Raitt's "I Can't Make You Love Me," and a few minutes later, Kelley and Haywood sang Luke Bryan's "Do I" and offered insight into the country music singer-songwriter clubhouse, telling how the three men had written the song on Bryan's front porch one day. But it still seemed wrong -- and didn't quite feel like the same show until the three Lady Antebellum members were together again, launching into the bubblegum-sweet "Perfect Day," followed by "Our Kind of Love," which, according to the Billboard chart, is currently the No. 1 country song.
Lady Antebellum capped a day of performances that included Matt Kennon, Bucky Covington, Joe Nichols and Eric Church, as well as Gloriana and the Band Perry. The Band Perry, made up of three siblings from Alabama, got a huge audience reception for the new single "If I Die Young," a morbid tune about untimely death -- or, according to Kimberly Perry, the lead vocalist, a song about appreciating what you have.