in performance: miranda lambert/chris young/jerrod niemann

miranda lambert last night at rupp arena. photo by matt goins.

 Take your pick at to which of the following underscored the very electric theme of “girl power” that ran through Miranda Lambert’s wildfire sold-out performance last night at Rupp Arena.

+ A show-opening video montage of other, multi-genre women hitmakers that included country legends Loretta Lynn and Patsy Cline, cross-generational soul-pop celebrities Tina Turner and Beyonce and rockabilly queen Wanda Jackson (the latter, by the way, just happened to be onstage with a show of her own down the street at Buster’s at that very moment).

+ The concert’s introductory one-two punch of Fastest Girl in Town and the breakout Lambert hit Kerosene, all full of anthemic power chords, that set the show in very forward motion.

+ A surprise, mid-show, four-song set by the Pistol Annies, that teamed Lambert with gal pals Ashley Monroe and Martin County native Angaleena Presley that led off with the red hot hit Hell on Heels (“I really wanted to Twitter about this earlier today,” Lambert admitted. “But …”)

+ Two cover tunes that had nothing at all to do with country but everything to do with the program’s emancipating feel – Lady Gaga’s You and I (done up with a curiously convincing neo-country grind) and Tom Petty’s Free Girl Now (which was all hot-wired arena rock fun with guitars fully blazing).

+ The career-defining Gunpowder and Lead, the fist-raising anthem offered late into the 90 minute performance that allowed Lambert to brag to the sell-out crowd of 10,000 about her prowess with a shotgun (“I’m pretty good with it, too”).

+ A sparse, piano-led encore cover of the Aretha Franklin classic Do Right Woman that came with another worthy boast (“Did I scare ‘ya with that one, boys”).

All of that was probably enough to make the performance a winning deal. There were other stray notables, both strong and perfunctory. The recent hit Baggage Claim kept the performance’s free spirit drive on full throttle while the ballads Dead Flowers and The House That Built Me were more standardized country fare full of languid melodies, over-abundant sentimentalism but still rich vocal turns from the star herself.

Show openers Chris Young and Jerrod Niemann (who joined Lambert for a concert finale cover of Billy Joe Shaver’s Honky Tonk Heroes) offered more expected profiles of mainstream country-pop, right down to their similar, ultra-casual appearances (“I couldn’t tell these guys apart if they were in a line-up,”offered a friend seated nearby).

The difference was that Young’s set was more exuberant and honestly country-savvy, from the roadhouse drive of the set-opening Save Water, Drink Beer to the power ballad The Man I Want to Be.

By contrast, Niemann’s introductory set was faceless rock dressed up in commercial country dressing. Neither his tunes (from the opening rock-a-rama Guessing Games to the mid-tempo sing-a-long of What Do You Want possessed much that was truly distinctive. Niewmann’s unremarkable vocal leads didn’t help. It was all as good-natured as could be, but compared the firepower that followed, Niemann’s set was largely left in the dust.

Research from University of Wisconsin provides new data on syringomyelia.

Biotech Week March 24, 2010 “Routine anatomic ultrasound performed in the second trimester has a detection rate of approximately 70-90% for fetal congenital abnormalities (Nyberg and Souter, J Ultrasound Med 2001;6:655-674). The central nervous system abnormalities are one of the most common ones detected,” investigators in the United States report (see also Syringomyelia). arnoldchiarimalformation.org arnold chiari malformation

“Chiari malformation is among the CNS abnormalities diagnosed in the fetal period (Bianchi et al., Fetology – diagnosis and management of the fetal patient, McGraw-Hill, 2000). The Arnold-Chiari malformation was first described in 1883 by Cleland (Romero et al., Prenatal diagnosis of congenital anomalies, Appleton and Lange, 1988). It is characterised by the prolapse of the hindbrain structures below the level of the foramen magnum. It can be associated with skeletal abnormalities and neurological dysfunction. In type I, a lip of cerebellum is downwardly displaced with the tonsils, but the fourth ventricle remains in the posterior fossa. This condition may coexist with syringomyelia, which is a cyst formation on the cervical portion of the spinal cord (Creasy et al., Maternal fetal medicine principles and practice, 2004). We present a case where Chiari type I and syringomyelia detected at 18 weeks of gestation. The reason for referral to our center was an abnormal inward posturing of both upper and lower extremities (minimal gross movement and almost inexistent range of motion on fetal joints). On further fetal evaluation, an abnormal brain ultrasound was identified,” wrote J.I. Iruretagoyena and colleagues, University of Wisconsin.

The researchers concluded: “Prenatal diagnosis of Chiari type I malformation and syringomyelia is almost nonexistent when reviewing the literature is the reason why this case is presented.” Iruretagoyena and colleagues published their study in the Journal of Maternal – Fetal & Neonatal Medicine (Prenatal diagnosis of Chiari malformation with syringomyelia in the second trimester. Journal of Maternal – Fetal & Neonatal Medicine, 2010;23(2):184-186). see here arnold chiari malformation

For additional information, contact J.I. Iruretagoyena, University of Wisconsin, Dept. of Obstet & Gynecol, Div Maternal Fetal Medical, Meriter Hosp, 202 S Pk St, Madison, WI 53715, USA.

The publisher of the Journal of Maternal – Fetal & Neonatal Medicine can be contacted at: Taylor & Francis Ltd., 4 Park Square, Milton Park, Abingdon OX14 4RN, Oxon, England.

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