For the Leader-Post
CRAVEN — Terri Clark scored big points Saturday evening at Craven before she even sang a word. As soon as the Medicine Hat native took the stage in a Riders jersey, the crowd was smitten. The cross-border country star probably could have mailed it in after that entrance, but got right to work with Wrecking Ball, her big booming new single. It was a smashing start to a 60-minute, 17-song set.
After a quick taste of her new material, Clark took the crowd back a decade for I Just Wanna Be Mad and Girls Lie Too. Clark really got into the latter, giving her own assets a little boost during the Hooters lyric. At 43, and 17 years into her career, Clark is clearly comfortable in her own skin, and can still rock a pair of blue jeans. After a few songs, she talked about shopping at the Rider store and pointed out some observations about the NFL versus CFL. “Our balls are bigger than theirs; it’s so obvious,” she said to an appreciative audience.
For Gypsy Boots, Clark grabbed another guitar — she swaps guitars as often as Cher changes costumes — and let her four-piece band sink their teeth into the meaty number that strayed beyond country’s usual confines. She walked the line between country and rock a few times, most apparently on If You Want Fire, a vaguely threatening tune that was in sync with the darkening skies overhead. That love song was in stark contrast with The One, which Clark said is for people waiting for the right person. Clark, who was recently named one of country music’s most eligible bachelorettes, looked wistful as made her way through ballad off her new album Roots and Wings.
With only an hour allotted to her set, Clark resorted to a medley in order to power through seven big hits. With barely a verse and chorus offered for each tune, classics like Emotional Girl, When Boy Meets Girl and Dirty Girl were cheapened in the process. Still the crowd lapped up each morsel Clark fed them, apparently happy to hear even a fraction of each tune.
After the musical collage, Clark introduced No Fear, a song about following her dreams.
“I moved out to Nashville at the age of 18, five years ago,” she joked. “I wanted to be Reba McEntire.”
Even with six albums, six No. 1 singles and many industry awards to her credit, Clark offered thanks to the crowd for still making her dreams come true every time she performs. Her enthusiasm on the catwalk, giving fans high fives, and repeatedly throwing out the chorus to the crowd showed her continued passion.
Fans returned the love when Clark changed guitars for the last time, bringing out a bright white acoustic guitar proudly emblazoned with a big maple leaf. There was no surprise when she then launched into Northern Girl; halfway through she paused to listen to fans work themselves into a frenzy. “That’s what I’m talking about,” she shouted.
Finally, she closed out her set with a cover of Trooper’s Here for a Good Time, a cut off her new album, and a feel-good finish for a winning set.