May 18, 2008
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Published on Sunday, January 27, 2008

For Reba, Kelly fans, concert best of 2 worlds

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For the 8,000-plus fans of Reba McEntire and Kelly Clarkson, Saturday night’s sold-out 2 Worlds 2 Voices concert was the best of both worlds.

Reba was a little bit country; Kelly was a little bit rock ’n’ roll.

Together, the duo took the audience on a high-energy roller coaster ride through some of each other’s greatest hits.

“It’s amazing to have them both on stage at the same time,” Stacey Ohl said. “But I’m definitely here for Kelly.”

Alex Ceslik and his fellow New Yorkers, Christie Labarca, Kiana Clark, and Michael Russa, are dedicated fans.

They said they’ve traveled from New York to catch shows in Ohio, Virginia and North Carolina.

They weren’t surprised the event had sold out.

“We love them both,” Labarca said. “And it’s great that the tour is doing so well because Kelly’s latest CD got a bad rap.”

Bundled in layers of winter clothing, the frenetic fans were just a handful of several hundred that were stuck in a mile-long traffic snarl on Owen Drive.

A steady stream of late-arriving concert-goers strode to their seats as opening act stand-up comedian Melissa Peterman warmed up the crowd. Peterman played the hilarious “Barbra Jean Booker Hart” on McEntire’s self-titled television show.

All seats were filled, and all eyes were turned toward the stage, however, by the time McEntire and Clarkson opened the show with a spot-on cover of “Sweet Dreams Are Made Of This” by the Eurythmics.

Standing atop a tri-level stage, the pair descended a central staircase that neatly bisected the deceptively simple set.

Each side had guitarists and drummers and keyboard players.

And in case you couldn’t see too clearly, above the stage an immense television screen captured the action.

The “Sweet Dreams” cover elicited an appreciative cheer from the crowd — they paid to see a duet show, and they were going to get it.

McEntire and Clarkson performed as if they’d been onstage together for years — and not on the second weekend of this tour.

They traded verses on each other’s songs, and sang backup for one another, blending and combining their talents.

McEntire’s “Why Haven’t I Heard From You” led to Clarkson’s “Walk Away,” which flowed seamlessly into McEntire’s “The Night the Lights Went out in Georgia.”

Fueled by crowd

The duo played off each other, and fed off the crowd’s energy — which seemed infinite; it couldn’t get enough.

As Clarkson’s “Behind These Hazel Eyes” rolled into McEntire’s “The Fear of Being Alone” people danced in their seats and held their glowing cell phones aloft.

“I’m having so much fun with this tour,” Clarkson told the eager crowd. “This is the best tour I’ve ever done.”

It was easy to see why.

Both singers were at the peak of their powers — McEntire the icon of women’s country music; Clarkson the soulful winner of the first “American Idol.”

When the pair teamed up on Clarkson’s “Beautiful Disaster,” there was no question why McEntire and Clarkson had toured together.

A better question would be: “Why did they wait so long?”

Staff writer Brian Dukes can be reached at or 323-4848, ext. 411.
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