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What do Elvis, Sugarland have in common?

Jeffrey Remz  |  February 29, 2012

What do Sugarland and Elvis Costello have in common? When it comes to concerts, quite a lot.

During his career, Elvis, who at times has delved into country, put together a concert by spinning a wheel with about 70 songs on it. Whatever song the arrow pointed to, Elvis and his band played. I remember seeing the concert at Brandeis University in Waltham, Mass., thinking how it was very cool to be that much of a risk taker. Maybe the flow of the show could have been better, but the concept was quite enjoyable.

Sugarland is doing something similar apparently. The duo announced today that they would launch the In the Hands of the Fans tour in April. The tour will rely solely on fan interaction and requests to determine the set list played in each city, according to a press release from the band.

Exact guidelines were not announced, but will be forthcoming on Sugarland's web site. Let's hope that they keep it fresh and flowing. And fans, I don't think you need to worry about them playing the hits. Maybe delve deeper into something deep in one of their albums or if unaware of what they've played live, maybe check out YouTube to see what videos are there. Better yet, go to where they have set lists going back to 2004 for ideas of songs Sugarland could play - pending your requeset.

"This year's tour is based around the concept of putting the show into the hands of the fans," said lead singer Jennifer Nettles. "They will make the requests that will help form the set list and guide the show. Through texts, handwritten signs, the Internet, phone calls made during the show and selections directly (via) the stage, the fans will become the conductors as well as the audience. If it's on one of our records, or if we've played it on a stage, it is fair game."

Sugarland deserves credit for trying something different to keep it fresh for themselves and their fans. The tour starts April 5 in Toledo, Ohio and concludes (at least for now) Aug. 18 in Stateline, Nev.

Elvis certainly was a leading voice of his generation and going in different directions at varying times in his career has served him well. Who knows where Sugarland will go in the future. At least this is a welcome attempt to go outside the box.

©Country Standard Time • Jeffrey B. Remz, editor & publisher •
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