Clint Black may have first billing on country music’s biggest roadshow — the Black & Wy Tour — but his lackluster performance on Saturday’s stop at the Anaheim Arena may have left several thousand fans asking who was that guy who closed the show for Wynonna?
Wynonna kicked off the double-bill evening, her set an hour-plus of sure-fire entertainment. The singer consistently blurred the line between pop and country music, using a tightly choreographed performance and a repertoire of A-list tunes to solidify her position as one of music’s — not just country music’s — emerging forces.
Since she went solo last year, there was some doubt as to the direction that her career would take — but this weekend’s gig established her country credibility as a force to be reckoned with and proved that she can easily go beyond the borders of country music.
Drawing from her self-titled debut and its follow-up, “Tell Me Why” (MCA), Wynonna — backed by a band whose nine members left their Wranglers at home and sported brightly colored, loose-fitting suits instead — delivered one roaring version after another, stopping only briefly to acknowledge the role of the fans in her success.
Although Black’s third RCA album, “No Time to Kill,” is the singer’s best work, showcasing his solid evolution as an artist and songwriter, his relaxed, self-effacing performance seemed overshadowed by the sight-and-sound spectacle of Wynonna’s set.
Black has ditched the mammoth stage and sound effects used on his last outing in favor of a sparse, wide-open stage that the singer routinely traverses in an almost perfunctory way.
Perhaps Black is seeking to let his music do the talking, which could explain the singer’s one-sided enthusiasm over the disc’s new material.
Although the songs were mostly unfamiliar — the album has just been released — Black at times shouted, “Here’s another new one!,” expecting the crowd to be as happy to hear the new tune as he was to perform it.