After the classic country of Reba McEntire Sunday, the Iowa State Fair Grandstand hosted a newer country queen on Monday: Carrie Underwood. The "American Idol" winner played to a sold out crowd of 10,635 fans.
Underwood kicked off the show with "Blown Away" off the 2012 album of the same name, followed by "Two Black Cadillacs," "Wasted" and "Undo It" in short order.
"The very first concert I ever got to go to was at a state fair," Underwood said during a break. The show was Alan Jackson and Faith Hill. Not a bad first show for a future country star.
She followed that anecdote with a cover of "I Told You So" by another country star, Randy Travis.
Underwood wasn't especially talkative during Monday's show, moving quickly from song to song and keeping the energy high. Her stage show was a little flashier than Reba's the night before, though Reba is more steak than sizzle (to be fair to Underwood, Reba has a few decades head start).
Now for a quick aside: Des Moines native Sarah Darling opened the show, though she only got about 15 minutes of performance time. Still, it gave her a huge crowd in her home town. She made the most of her time on stage, playing songs like "Home to Me" and "You Can't Hold Your Whiskey and Hold Me Too."
"My heart is so full, I'll always be an Iowan at heart," Darling told the crowd, promising that she has new music to be released soon.
Back to Underwood: She performed "Little Toy Guns" one of the new songs off her recent greatest hits album, then progressed back in time with the 2009 hits "Cowboy Casanova" and "Don't Forget to Remember Me."
Underwood worked a bit of Wiz Khalifa's "See You Again" into her own hit of the same name, providing the Grandstand some hip hop from an unlikely source. She also drew a sing-along from the crowd with her hit "Jesus Take the Wheel."
Underwood closed out her main set with the song "Last Name," returning after a brief intermission for an encore of "Something in the Water," followed by her big hit, "Before He Cheats."
Over the last decade, Underwood has gone from a reality show winner to a legitimate giant in her genre. Only in her early 30's, she has a lot of time to grow. It will be interesting to see what happens in the decades to come.