Before singing “The House That Built Me” on Thursday night at the Long Island, New York stop on her Bandwagon Tour, Lambert’s guitarist played for a few seconds, stopped abruptly and then started strumming again after a short pause. “Sometimes you gotta start over,” the country star, 34, told the audience.
Lambert went on to deliver a powerful performance of the emotional ballad, and kept it real the rest of the night.
“I’m making my goal every time I walk on this stage to make you feel something before you leave here,” she said to the crowd. “Sometimes in country music, feeling something means feeling sad and I do, so I wrote about it. Sing along if you know it; This one’s called ‘Tin Man.’ “
Lambert then turned the Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater into a party when she brought tourmates Little Big Town back on stage to close out the night with songs like “Girl Crush” and a cover of the Dixie Chicks’ “Goodbye Earl.” When they did “Smokin’ and Drinkin’” a fan standing close to the stage in the pit section handed Lambert a tiny bottle of Fireball whiskey, which she, Karen Fairchild, Philip Sweet and Jimi Westbrook all took sips of while rocking out to their hit song.
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When they closed out the show with a cover of “Lean on Me,” the night’s first opener, Canadian singer Tenille Townes, came out to join Lambert, Little Big Town and the supporting band members. Noticeably missing: the night’s other opening act, the Turnpike Troubadours, fronted by Lambert’s boyfriend Evan Felker.
During the Troubadours’ set earlier in the evening, Felker, 34, expressed his excitement for the group to join Lambert on tour.
“This is our first show on the Bandwagon Tour,” he said. We’re really happy to be here with Miranda Lambert and Little Big Town and all of y’all as well!”
Felker also mentioned twice during his band’s 20-minute set that, like Lambert’s ex Blake Shelton, he hails from Oklahoma, even saying that one of the tracks they performed is about “some real folks down there.”
Prior to their first tour date together on Thursday, Lambert and Felker were spotted holding hands in New York City on Wednesday night, marking the first time they’ve been seen together since news of their relationship went public in April. Felker and the Turnpike Troubadours will be on the road with Lambert and Little Big Town through Aug. 25.