Photos and review By Veronica Lee
During the hiatus of country’s Sugarland, fans rightfully assumed the break meant the beginning of the inevitable breakup. However, the founding duo Jennifer Nettles and Kristian Bush have reunited to release new music and hit the road on a new tour to prove they are refreshed and better than ever.
Nettles and Bush became Sugarland since 2004 and saw immediate attention with hit singles like “Baby Girl,” “Stuck Like Glue,” and “Little Miss.” They performed to thousands of sold-out arenas and traveled the world, and as traveled acquired Country music star status. Then, they decided to take a pause. 2012 marked the beginning what would eventually become a five-year hiatus as the two focused on pursuing individual life and career goals. Now, the duo’s 2018 Bigger album release and supporting tour has brought them back together to remind fans that they are still just as amazing.
Sugarland swung through Denver’s Fiddler’s Green Amphitheatre June 21 as they performed under a starry sky at the beautiful outdoor venue. Backed by their powerhouse band, Sugarland played a fun and well-choreographed set of past favorites and current songs from the latest album, Bigger. The venue, which accommodates roughly 17,000 guests, can be difficult to fill and easy to lose an audience’s attention in. Yet, the pros can turn the space into an intimate evening with long-loved friends and a dance party that goes into all hours of the night. Sugarland proved to be those pros.
Excited fans jumped from their seats and sang along to the modern country-rock as Nettles vocals resonated into the summer air. Costumed in a circus-themed ring-leader ensemble, Nettles owned the stage as she sauntered, stomped and high-kicked her way through the energetic set. Bush, the counterpoint dynamic force to be reckoned with, oozed his cool Southern charm while taking the lead on guitar solos and occasional vocals. Chemistry exuded from all over the stage, and if there was any fear that time off would generate a rusty return, all eyes and ears were put to rest.
To simply classify Sugarland as an American country duo is a downright gross oversimplification of the band. While country music may act as a foundational root, and the solo work of Nettles and Bush leans towards a heavy twang, the evolution and growth of their 2018 record prove this band is taking even bigger strides towards pushing boundaries. Their latest single, “Babe,” is a collaboration with Taylor Swift which has the band jumping head first into the world of pop-rock superstar with great ease.