On Sunday night, the folks of Elkhart and the surrounding area came to the Lerner for the Sara Evans Christmas show presented by Dusty Guitar Promotions.
Elkhart is a small city that compliments the rural charm of northern Indiana with world-class shopping and dining, lush green spaces, exciting festivals, and events throughout the year. It is also the home of the Lerner Theatre, located in downtown Elkhart. The theatre was built and opened in November 1924, by Harry E. Lerner.
Dusty Guitar Promotions is an event promotions company located in Zanesville, Ohio and owned by Darren Tigner and Ryan Dodson. The company was founded in 2013, and works with theatres in several of the neighboring states promoting various types of events ranging from comedy shows to country music and rock n’ roll concerts.
Thankful to both, the crowds filled the theatre on this evening to enjoy some excellent music from one of country music’s top female vocalists, Sara Evans.
Playing some of her top hits from throughout her career, Sara started her show singing “Born To Fly” from her album of the same name. This song became a #1 hit for Sara in 2001 as the album Born To Fly was certified Double Platinum.
From Sara’s Greatest Hits album in 2007, “As If” was next on the playlist for the evening. The band never stopped playing as they flowed right into the third song of her set, “Perfect” off Restless (2003), without skipping a beat.
Sara took a moment here in between songs to notice a gentleman in the third row wearing a unique Christmas sweater. Having never seen a sweater as such, she asked the gentleman to stand and share it with the rest of the crowd. Standing up with the spotlight on him, he was wearing a sweater of a Christmas Grinch dressed in a Santa suit.
She then proceeded to play the title track from her 2014 album, Slow Me Down, before moving on with “Not Over You.”
Giving the band a small break, Sara talked about herself and why she took time off away from the music for a few years. She made mention of she and her husband having a combination of seven children; three from Sara’s previous marriage and four were from her husband’s previous marriage. As she paused, the crowd applauded her. With a worried look on her face, she jokingly begged the crowd to buy her latest CD stating, “I need the money. Them kids are expensive.” Once again the crowd laughed and applauded.
She also joked how she ordered seven hoverboards for her children before learning that they malfunction and catch fire. She then told the crowd how, after ordering them and waiting for their arrival, she heard that the company fixed the problem. After taking a moment to catch her breath, she then told them how she had already cancelled the order, as the crowd burst into laughter.
While she was on her break from the music, she met up with her friend Hillary Scott from Lady Antebellum to write a song about her struggles in life over the past few years. During those visits, they penned a song together “A Little Bit Stronger,” that later also became the theme of her next album, Stronger (2011).
Sara talked about growing up as a child and how she also grew up in a family of seven children with herself being the eldest of the girls. She then introduced her brother, Matt, who is the bass player and the leader of Sara’s band. She also noted that he was the in charge of the show arrangement; if you didn’t like anything about the show to make sure to see him.
As she had returned to talking about family, she turned away from the crowd and joked in a frustrated growl, “I have never been alone.” She brought the crowd, once again, to laughter as the band started playing.
“Suds In The Bucket” was the third single off the Restless album, and her most successful song to date. As the band started playing, the crowd quickly rose out of their seats to sing along with Sara as they sang word for word.
The highlight of the evening came as Sara slowed down and dropped the mood with the emotional singing of the Sam Smith song, “Lay Me Down.” Wiping tears away from her eyes at the end, she took a moment to gather herself as the crowd gave her a generous standing ovation.
To bring the crowd back up and liven up the season’s spirits, this was where her show changed from her top hits to her favorite Christmas songs. To start it off, she sprang into “I’ll Be Home For Christmas,” before the title track from her new Christmas album, At Christmas.
Sara has been touring for the month of December with her Christmas show. This night was her next to the last concert before going home to share the Christmas spirit with her family back in Alabama.
“Silent Night” and “Winter Wonderland” were next before introducing the band.
Her band consists of Shane Smith (lead guitar and acoustic guitar), Jim Bloodgood (drums), Matt Evans (bass and band leader), Adam Hampton (keyboard), Billy McClaran (fiddle and acoustic guitar), and Brent Wilson (lead guitar and acoustic guitar).
Finishing out this part of the evening, Sara continued with “Have Yourself A Merry Christmas,” “Oh Holy Night,” and rocking out with “Run Run Rudolph.”
Sara left as the band played the stage to a soft darkness.
Amongst the crowd’s cheers and “Sara” chants, Sara and the band returned for an encore song by the hip-hop band Black Eyed Peas for her version of “Shut Up.” Although not all of the crowd knew the song, they still stood on their feet and clapped their hands to the beat of the music.
This evening’s show was a testament to Sara’s ability and her longevity in the spotlight. Eight studio albums, three compilation albums, one EP, and a video album that within all created five #1 singles, along with numerous awards have shown the years spent towards her career.
Even as she took her break from the music for personal family matters, she was welcomed back years later with open arms. She delivers performances with confidence, creativity, and just the right amount of sex appeal, while her fans are left begging for more.