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Since she won the “American Idol” crown five years ago, Underwood has evolved with light speed into one of the biggest stars in modern country. She has done it with a combination of good looks, a charming and self effacing personality and a voice that has blossomed exploded, actually into one of those voices, the kinds that can make an arena feel like a corner bar.

Saturday night she treated her 15,000 or so fans to an evening of hits and songs from her three studio albums; to an array of wardrobe changes; to several on stage sets, including a swing to a cover of John Denver “Take Me Home, Country Roads” delivered from the bed of a royal blue pickup truck that road a rail high above the crowd and to just enough personal anecdotes and scrapbook photos (from her childhood to her wedding day) to spread a little homespun cheer.

The show lasted about 15 minutes short of two hours, comprised and included a couple of explosive moments. One of those was woman spurned anthem “Before He Cheats,” one of the closers and the one song that prompted a loud, sustained sing along. The other was “Jesus Take the Wheel,” Underwood first No. 1 single. She turned that song of inspiration into an evangelical moment when she appended it with part of the hymn “How Great Thou Art.” Among the several impressive vocal moments of the show, this one was the most spectacular. She finished it with the kind of volume and sky scraping notes that recalled Whitney Houston National Anthem at the Super Bowl almost 20 years ago. It inspired lots of fans to look heavenward and waive both arms and prompted one of the loudest and longest cheers of the night. It was one moment when people looked genuinely moved and not just entertained.

The rest of the show illustrated how Underwood became the chart busting star she is. She has three multi platinum albums and 10 No. 1 singles because she records songs that are as highly crafted as they are generic and formulaic. The bluesy anthem “Undo It,” for example, is a remodeled version of Lucinda Williams “Joy.”

The effect of all that similarity and formula: She can raise the roof with her voice, her songs don move much furniture. The vibe in the room only broke percolation one or two times; otherwise there was lots of watching followed by cheers and hearty applause after each song. The last time she was in town, she delivered an infernal cover of Guns N Roses “Paradise City.” This night could have used a moment like that.

Nearly all of those songs take full advantage of that voice, which, like a high performancee engine, doesn like hanging around in low gear. So she came out of the gate in high decibel mode with two anthems built to fill arenas: “Cowboy Casanova” and “Quitter,” both of which showcased an agile, leviathan voice that belies her petite stature and pleasant personae (like Martina McBride). Even when she sings a ballad, like “Wasted,” it tends to erupt into something loud and dramatic.

The crowd did light up for “What Can I Say,” which included openers Sons of Sylvia; for “I Told You So,” a duet with a video of Randy Travis; and for two of her biggest hits, “Last Name” and “Before He Cheats.” ended with “Songs Like This,” a track from “Play On,” her latest record. She dropped in a sample of Beyonce “Single Ladies.” A few ago, that would come off as a moment of homage to someone Underwood obviously looks up to. But these days, she has a right to consider Beyonce one of her peers.

Billy Currington: He was the second of two openers, following the Sons of Sylvia, but he seems on the verge of becoming a big venue headliner. Currington can do the beer drinking, truck driving honky tonk thing as well as anyone in country music, but he can also kill a country politan ballad, like “Must Be Doing Something Right,
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” which was on the setlist. So were “That How Country Boys Roll,” “I Got a Feeling,” “Pretty Good at Drinkin Beer” and ” Good Directions.”

Carrie Underwood setlist: Cowboy Casanova; Quitter; Wasted; I Know You Won Some Hearts; Just a Dream; Temporary Home; Some Day When I Stop Loving You; All American Girl; So Small; Take Me Home, Country Roads; This Time; Undo It; Jesus, Take the Wheel/How Great Thou Art; What Can I Say; Change; I Told You So; Mama Song; Last Name; Songs Like This.

Timothy FInn, The Star

As for the Hawks, haven heard anything either. Just the same rumors here and there that they bringing back their “old” thirds, but nothing even close to concrete. Jerseys Rumors have been circulating that suggest the Blackhawks are looking to ditch their third jersey. At this point I don have any hard sources to cite, but it sounds like team management doesn really love this sweater (right) which began life in 2009 at the Winter Classic played at Wrigley Field in Chicago. I not certain whether the Blackhawks plan to revert to the previous all black third NHL Jerseys, which first debuted in 1996 (and was later relaunched in Reebok Edge form in 2008 after taking a year off) or go without an alternate uniform altogether. They could also try their hand an entirely new design, but I really wouldn bet on that. Also unclear is the timetable for the current third jersey demise. Have we already seen the last of it? Or will it get one last hurrah this season before it becomes part of Hawks history?

That really a shame. I was hoping the Stars would get the chance to add a little more color. Now, if it does happen, it will likely have to wait at least until next season maybe longer. Looking back, Dallas may have been the hardest hit by the transition to Reebok Edge in 2007. They went from having a beautiful and unique set of sweaters to some of the blandest in the league. And green already in short supply around the NHL disappeared almost entirely. For the record, the current set of uniforms will remain unchanged for 2011. I for one will be an upset Hawks fan that the current third will be retired. It completed arguably the finest uniform set in the league. I at least hoping it doesn start a trend of a new alternate MLB jerseys every other year. As an original 6 team, the organization should strive to maintain a concrete identity without alternating too much between uniforms. He goes on an hour later. Cover is a paltry $5. Saturday is especially insane: two radio station festivals and a great show in Lawrence plus Alejandro returns to town. Unless you’re Batman, you’ve got some choosing to do. If you like Celtic rock, this is your week, too. Oh . and Michael Bolton is in town. Tonight: Kid Cudi is at the Midland; Frank Turner is at Crosstown Station; Early Man/Evil/Bonded by Blood/Serated at the Riot Room. Jazz fans: Bobby Watson is at the Blue Room. Tuesday: The Walkmen at the Bottleneck in Lawrence; Barclay Martin Ensemble at Jardines; David George with Kirsten Paludan at.
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