Miranda Lambert marked a new milestone in her career with a special performance in Franklin, Tenn., on Thursday night (April 28). The country star made her first appearance at the scenic FirstBank Ampitheater to celebrate the release of her ninth solo studio album, Palomino.
The night kicked off with a rowdy performance from the Cadillac Three, although a massive traffic jam of cars heading into the venue caused many concertgoers to miss a portion of or the entirety of their opening set. Thankfully, those issues seemed to resolve just in time for Lambert’s headlining performance, allowing the sold-out crowd to find their seats before the lights went down.
With a massive LED screen displayed behind her, Lambert took the stage in her trademark custom fringe Western wear to perform “Actin’ Up,” the jaunty lead track from Palomino. Led by her powerhouse band, including longtime backing vocalist Gwen Sebastian, Lambert instantly took hold of the stage in a way that few artists can.
“Happy thirsty Thursday everybody,” she proclaimed before leading into her most recent single, “Strange.” With two and a half years passed since the release of her last solo album, Wildcard, it was apparent that fans were anxious to dive into her new material as they proudly echoed back every line.
“I know I’ve thrown a couple new ones at y’all tonight — thanks to singing along to those, by the way,” Lambert told her fans with a smile.
Along with a sampling of new tracks, Lambert’s set list was stacked with some of her biggest hits from throughout career. She rolled through “Kerosene,” “The House That Built Me,” “Only Prettier” and “If I Was a Cowboy,” serving up energetic, high-powered vocals throughout.
The importance of the evening was echoed in Lambert’s short chats with the crowd, including a reflection on her music video shoot for “Famous in a Small Town,” which was shot just a few minutes away in downtown Franklin thirteen years prior.
“I was a little nervous to play this show, I’m going to be honest with you. I feel good now that I’m here and I’ve got Tito’s in my hand,” Lambert noted, raising her cup in the air. She continued to reflect on the events that led her to that night, just days before the kickoff of the Bandwagon Tour, her U.S. co-headlining trek with Little Big Town.
“It’s a big week,” Lambert noted. “I was thinking about songs that mean the world to me and the times in my life when I really needed them. I always go back to this one because I’m a sucker for a sad song,” she said, strumming the first chords of “Tin Man,” a heart aching track from her 2016 double album The Weight of These Wings. With just her acoustic guitar and a spotlight cast upon her, Lambert showed off the raw talent that has elevated her from a reality star hopeful to one of modern country music’s most celebrated artists.
Another standout moment of the night came when Lambert brought out her “oldie but goodie bestie” and Pistol Annies bandmate, Ashley Monroe. The surprise duet marked one of the rare live appearances from Monroe since she was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer in 2021. The pair sounded as flawless as ever as they harmonized on Lambert’s 2011 hit “Heart Like Mine” before welcoming out the Cadillac Three’s Jaren Johnston for a rousing cover of Little Feat’s “Willin’.”
The latter half of Lambert’s set kicked the energy into full gear, barreling through the crowd-pleasing “Tequila Does,” Revolution deep cut “That’s the Way That the World Goes Round,” “Mama’s Broken Heart,” “White Liar” and “Little Red Wagon.” Before departing the stage, she treated concertgoers to an extended version of “Drunk (And I Don’t Wanna Go Home),” her recent record-breaking collaboration with Elle King.
Even with a case of the jitters and some logistical problems (Lambert apologized to the crowd for “fighting that b–ch of a traffic jam”), the night served as a joyful, lighthearted and deserved celebration that proved Miranda Lambert’s staying power.
PICTURES: See Inside Miranda Lambert’s Rural Tennessee Estate
Miranda Lambert paid $3.4 million in 2016 for her rural estate an hour south of Nashville, which comprises 400 acres of lush green farmland. The property includes rolling hills, rustic living spaces and an enormous horse barn, as well as three residences, a lake with a boathouse and a six-bay garage. There are 75 acres of fenced-in pastureland, as well as lighted walking trails that wind through the woods leading to a pavilion, with seating for 60 for private concerts.