Brandi Carlile weathers a storm in Nashville with help from Wynonna Judd
- On Friday, Brandi Carlile performed the first of two headlining shows at the Ascend Amphitheatre.
- The thunderstorms briefly delayed – but did not stop – the show.
- Wynonna Judd surprised the audience by joining Carlile and her band on stage.
A few flashes can’t keep Brandi Carlile from a girls’ night out in Nashville.
Carlile returned to Music City on Friday, battling an evening thunderstorm — and subsequent rain delay — before bringing her own brand of power to the first of two headlining nights at the Ascend Amphitheatre.
“Nashville, it was a touch-and-go there for a second,” she said minutes after taking the stage for a two-hour set that ran until nearly midnight. . “It almost didn’t look so good, but here we are.”
And, of course, she was not alone.
Shortly after the rain and sticky July air gave way to a much-needed night breeze, Carlile took the stage with her backing band – including a string quartet, producer-songwriter Shooter Jennings on keys and longtime collaborators Tim and Phil Hanseroth (AKA “the twins”) by his side.
She wasted no time digging into her show’s rock ‘n’ roll spirit, starting with a raucous rendition of the catchy song “Broken Horses,” a standout on Carlile’s 2021 album “In These Silent Days”. Shortly after, she kept the band loose with a foot-footed rendition of “The Things I Regret” before later developing three-part harmony skills with the Hanseroth Brothers on “The Eye.”
“It’s so special to be here in Nashville,” Carlile said, adding, “This is where I’ve always wanted to be my whole life. Now when I come here, I feel like home.
And Carlile shared the stage Friday with a rotating cast of friends and idols no one else in Nashville could arguably hang out with.
Guitar opener Celisse Henderson lost her solo set to the storm, but she sat down with Carlile’s band for a handful of songs, including a heartbreaking solo on a cover of ‘Alone’ of Heart. Harmonizing duo Lucius – who played the lead on Friday – also ran up and down the stage, adding to Carlile’s upbeat anthem to quiet love, “You and Me on the Rock”, among others.
But no guest left a mark on the show quite like Wynonna Judd, who joined Carlile for a Judds double blanket. The pair — plus Carlile’s brother Jay on harmonica — teamed up for a timely rendition of “Girls Night Out” before singing “Love Is Alive.” Judd dedicated the latter to her sister Ashley Judd, who she said was watching from the side stage.
“The Judds were my first, second and third gigs,” Carlile said after the surprise covers. She added, “What just happened on stage, for me, was really life-affirming.”
Yet, as much as Carlile has paid homage to the shoulders she stands on — like a jaw-dropping cover of Joni Mitchell’s “Woodstock” or a crowd-pleasing take on Elton John’s classic “Rocketman” — she’s also done a nod to a new generation: Nashville singer-songwriter Katie Pruitt, who aided the band in the flamboyant encore song “Mainstream Kid.”
The show ended with the unmissable “Hold Out Your Hand” before a pair of self-proclaimed lullabies dedicated to extending this year’s Pride celebration – Carlile’s “Stay Gentle” and a cover of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” .
At one point, Carlile said, “It’s nights like this when you watch an audience… and you’re like, ‘Oh my God, this really happened for us. “”
Brandi Carlile’s “Beyond These Silent Days” tour continues Saturday night at the Ascend Amphitheatre.
Brandi Carlile’s Nashville Setlist
- broken horses
- The things I regret
- The story
- The eye
- The mother
- werewolf mom
- Girls Night Out (The Judds cover with Wynonna Judd and Celisse Henderson)
- Love Is Alive (The Judds cover with Wynonna Judd)
- You and Me on The Rock (with Lucius)
- Woodstock (Joni Mitchell cover with Lucius)
- Rocketman (Elton John cover)
- Just in time
- Sinners, Saints and Fools (with Lucius)
- The joke
- Feast of a
- Get There (performance by Celisse Henderson)
- Mainstream Kid (with Katie Pruitt)
- Alone (recovery with Lucius and Celisse Henderson)
- Give a hand
- stay sweet
- Somewhere over the rainbow