concert reviews

Martina McBride at the Patriot Center, Fairfax, VA, Friday 17 February 2006

Martina McBride split her two-hour performance into two segments Friday at Patriot Center. The first half was devoted to covering country classics, from Hank Williams's "You Win Again" to Harlan Howard's "Heartaches by the Number," a song McBride's father used to sing with his band when she was a child. In the second half she sang her own hits, from the bouncy "Happy Girl" to the power ballad "Valentine."

Despite the more vigorous crowd reaction to her own songs, McBride performed with the same energy and enthusiasm throughout. Her warm voice boomed both on the tunes she's famous for ("A Broken Wing," "Independence Day") and on her covers (Tammy Wynette's "Stand By Your Man"). Where the covers flaunted her sass (Loretta Lynn's "You Ain't Woman Enough"), her songs radiated passion, with an emotional anthem against child abuse ("Concrete Angel") and the touching ballad "In My Daughter's Eyes."

McBride carried herself with poise and elegance all night, both in dress and in demeanor. She even took audience requests with grace: Rather than inviting a ruckus of shouted song titles, she passed a microphone to the audience. The crowd was elated with one pick: a rollicking version of Pat Benatar's "Hit Me With Your Best Shot."

-- Catherine P. Lewis

.: Originally published: The Washington Post, 20 February 2006; Page C05
.: Selected discography: Timeless (Martina McBride, 2005); Martina (Martina McBride, 2003); Emotion (Martina McBride, 1999); Wild Angels (Martina McBride, 1995); The Way That I Am (Martina McBride, 1993).