Miranda Lambert’s 2005 debut album Kerosene was the first country album I ever purchased… not because I was a country fan, but because we shared the same first name. And at 12 years old, I thought that was pretty dang cool. I grew to enjoy her music, even though my affinity toward country as a whole never quite developed as much as other genres. But 18 years later, Miranda Lambert’s Velvet Rodeo Las Vegas Residency became my first country concert, and… it was pretty dang cool.
Velvet Rodeo brings fiery music– and stage effects– to the newly re-named Bakkt Theater inside Planet Hollywood (formerly Zappos Theater). One thing about Bakkt Theater: there’s really no bad seat in the house. It’s intimate enough to feel like the artist is playing directly to you, but big enough to foster electric energy from a buzzing crowd. There are two GA standing sections that allow you to get up close and personal with the performer, and the vibes run high here! If you prefer having seats, you should still be ready to stand up and dance for this show.
Even if you’re the mildest fan of country music, you’ll recognize– and may even be able to sing along to– several of Miranda’s most popular songs. In bejeweled cowgirl boots and tassels shaking from her jacket, she blazes through 22 fan favorites, picked from nearly every one of her records. Speaking of blaze, expect a LOT of pyrotechnics in this show. It got hot up there in GA!
To hear Miranda sing live is surreal. Her voice is so clean and controlled, all the while delivering raw emotion and channeling the essence of her music to its fullest. From soulful ballads like “Heart Like Mine,” to her sassy and mischievous tunes like “Mama’s Broken Heart,” you will feel every line.
With that said, I happened to attend one of Miranda’s first nights back after recovering from being sick, having cancelled her Thursday night show a few days prior. Had I not known, her performance didn’t give any clues that she had been on vocal rest by doctor’s orders earlier that week. She is a true performer and professional, giving us her all.
The only aspect I felt was missing from Velvet Rodeo was more dialogue between Miranda and the audience. One of my favorite parts of seeing an artist live is to connect with them on a deeper level through storytelling, learning the background of my favorite songs, or even humorous quips that show more of their personality. Whether it be her performance style, or perhaps still feeling slightly under the weather, Miranda prioritized singing over chit chat while still throwing out several thank yous for spending “Sunday Funday” with her.
Other than that, Velvet Rodeo was full of sparkle– including Miranda’s literally sparking jacket pictured above.
When she’s not accompanying herself on guitar, she’s grooving and moving around, spending a lot of time at the end of the stage’s catwalk getting face-to-face with fans in the seats. She gives the audience plenty of opportunity to shout her most iconic lines back at her, like “Well I’m a giver, and I’m still giving ’em hell,” during “Bluebird,” and “His fist is big, but my gun’s bigger, he’ll find out when I pull the trigger,” during the revenge anthem “Gunpowder & Lead.”
Cups filled with the show’s signature cocktails were raised during “Tequila Does,” and “Drunk,” with most of the audience feeling the songs just as much as they were feeling their drinks at this point.
Velvet Rodeo lasts a little over an hour and a half, with only one interlude for a costume change. The 3-time Grammy winner has carefully designed this show to hit every fan, every emotion, and every expectation for every second you’re there.
As for me, I was actually surprised at how many songs I was able to sing along to, even though I had only been casually following her career over the years. Miranda has definitely put her stamp on not only country music, but pop culture. And man, the setlist is still stuck in my head several days later!
Miranda Lambert: Velvet Rodeo The Las Vegas Residency runs through December 2023. The best deals on tickets are available through Ticketmaster.