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Review: Martina McBride performs on Long Island, New York, in all of her eras

On April 11, country star Martina McBride headlined the Theatre at Westbury on Long Island.

Martina McBride performing at Westbury
Martina McBride performing at Westbury. Photo Credit: Mark Schoen Photography
Martina McBride performing at Westbury. Photo Credit: Mark Schoen Photography

On April 11, country star Martina McBride headlined at the Theatre at Westbury on Long Island. Canadian country artist Carolyn Dawn Johnson served as her opening act.

McBride kicked off her set with the mid-tempo and joyous “My Baby Loves Me” as fuschia lights dimmed from the stage. She paraphrased the closing lyrics to “Westbury, loves me just the way that I am,” and the crowd went nuts.

“Thank you so much,” she said, and immediately broke into “Wild Angels,” which she revealed was her first No. 1 single ever. “Thank you. Wow! We are finally here. What is it with y’all and the rain,” she said.

“We’ve been looking forward to this show for a while now. I’m so happy,” she noted and wanted everyone to have “a damn good time tonight.”

She continued with the bubbly “I Love You” and shared the story behind the origin of “Girls Like Me,” which was derived from the “Songland” singing contest.

While many people might have been unfamiliar with “Girls Like Me,” she promised them that they would know the next song, and rightfully so. McBride serenaded the Long Island audience to a cover of “Rose Garden” by country legend Lynn Anderson (who was affectionately known as the “Great Lady of Country Music”).

It was enthralling and fun as everybody sang along with McBride as “rose pedals” were dropping on a virtual screen in honor of the classic country tune.

Then, she spoke about how she grew up on a farm in Kansas, where her father had two jobs: a farmer and a musician (they would play in a family band). McBride went on to tip her hat to yet another iconic country pioneer, Loretta Lynn, with “You Ain’t Woman Enough (To Take My Man).” “God Bless Loretta Lynn,” she said, following the warm reception of this song.

McBride stated that the midtempo “Blessed” is a true story about her life, at the moment, and rightfully so.

She continued with the powerhouse “Love’s the Only House,” which is about “love and loving each other,” thus raising social awareness. It was followed by “Reckless,” a tune about unconditional love.

As she was introducing “Anyway,” she noted that music is “so powerful” to her. “Songs can be powerful,” she admitted. “They can make you cry and laugh.”

McBride acknowledged that “Anyway” gives her faith, hope, love, calmness, and a sense of peace, and she hopes that it does the same for the audience as well. Her rousing rendition of “Anyway” garnered her a standing ovation. (Fun fact: McBride co-wrote “Anyway” with The Warren Brothers)

Another uplifting song was “Safe in the Arms of Love,” where everybody was clapping along with her and singing its infectious chorus back to her.

The emotional highpoint of the evening was when she performed the tear-jerker ballad “Concrete Angel,” which deals with the serious subject matter of child abuse, and she did it beautifully.

She took her audience on a trip down memory lane to her “Everlasting” album, which featured her covers of R&B and Motown classics and sang Fred Neil’s “Little Bit of Rain” with her band member Greg Foresman.

After she introduced each of her five band members (including Carolyn Dawn Johnson who played acoustic guitar and sang background vocals for her), she immediately segued into the up-tempo and spitfire “When God-Fearin’ Women Get the Blues.”

Equally noteworthy was the vivacious “This One’s for the Girls,” where she got everyone up on their feet to sing this anthem of female empowerment.

She displayed her powerhouse pipes on the harking ballad “Broken Wing,” which earned her a standing ovation.

“Thank you so much for coming out tonight,” McBride said, effusively, and concluded her show with her signature tune “Independence Day.” This secured her a lengthy standing ovation, and it felt like the national anthem in Westbury.

McBride stated that a live concert experience is like no other. She noted that it is “so special” because it involves both giving and receiving.

For her encore, McBride returned to the Westbury stage with the upbeat, sappy and jubilant “Happy Girl” and rocked out with Pat Benatar’s “Hit Me With Your Best Shot,” thus leaving the New York crowd wanting to hear more.

Particularly impressive about this show is that she performed at least one song from each of her albums in her illustrious 30-plus career in country music.

The Verdict

Overall, Martina McBride was able to delight at The Theatre at Westbury on Long Island. There is a reason why she has been affectionately known as the “Celine Dion of Country Music.”

A Grand Ole Opry member, McBride proved that the modern country music throne still belongs to her, even three decades in her respected career in the country genre.

Despite the poor weather conditions, and some sound and microphone issues in the venue, McBride put on an elaborate country music concert as she took the audience on a journey through all of her musical eras.

Her songs are impactful, heartfelt, timeless, and they raise awareness on issues that are near and dear to her heart.

This is a woman who deserves to be inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame; for anybody who has any doubts, all they need to do is a highlight reel of her performance in Westbury. It is highly recommended that one sees Martina McBride the next time she is in town.

To learn more about Martina McBride, check out her official website.

Markos Papadatos
Written By

Markos Papadatos is Digital Journal's Editor-at-Large for Music News. Papadatos is a Greek-American journalist and educator that has authored over 21,000 original articles over the past 18 years. He has interviewed some of the biggest names in music, entertainment, lifestyle, magic, and sports. He is a 16-time "Best of Long Island" winner, where for three consecutive years (2020, 2021, and 2022), he was honored as the "Best Long Island Personality" in Arts & Entertainment, an honor that has gone to Billy Joel six times.

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