Kacey Musgraves performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.
Kacey Musgraves performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.

Before hitting the road on her highly anticipated Star-Crossed: Unveiled Tour, Kacey Musgraves gave fans a tiny taste of what they could expect, tweeting, “This tour is going to be so f*cking pretty just wait.”

Dreamy lights, giant digital flowers, and cascading confetti were among the dazzling visuals that accentuated Musgraves’ beautiful performance at Chicago’s United Center on Jan. 20, but this feast for the eyes was nothing in comparison to the wonders of her pitch perfect melodies that sounded sweeter than ever. Fans used the occasion to don their cowboy hats and sequined best creating a vibe that was downright carefree and joyful. This atmosphere may seem surprising for a show with a setlist full of songs of heartbreak, but with Kacey Musgraves audiences know they are always in for a good time.

Star-Crossed is an emotional album full of ballads and slow-burners examining Musgraves’ divorce. Rather than wallowing in melancholy, its lyrical themes lay out a path towards healing. After the events of the on-going pandemic – with so many people experiencing their own losses – a crowd coming together to sing semi-sad songs is just what the doctor ordered.

Musgraves first appeared on stage in silhouette as the Spanish guitar of the album opening title track signaled the start of the show. Patiently walking down the steps towards center stage, the genre-bending artist exuded strength in spirit and in song. Smooth and hopeful, “Good Wife” followed, just as it does on the album.

“I was a great wife,” Musgraves declared in the song’s final moments provoking a tidal wave of cheers from fans.

Muna performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.

Muna and King Princess were tapped as the supporting acts for the Star-Crossed: Unveiled Tour and each artist added to the evening’s affable atmosphere. Muna used their short set – “we’re here for a good time, not a long time” – to perform “Number One Fan,” “Stayaway,” “Taken” and more. Though the band is based in Los Angeles, singer Katie Gavin, who is originally from Chicago, joked about how cool it was to play the United Center where she used to go to see Disney on Ice.

King Princess performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.

King Princess shared new material, fan favorites like “Talia” and “House Burn Down,” and an appreciation for the city by the lake.

“F*ck yeah, I love Chicago,” said the “1950” singer.

Kacey Musgraves performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.

Later, Musgraves admired the crowd asking for the lights to go up so she could see everyone.

“You look beautiful tonight,” she said joking about how we’ve all been on our couches in crusty pajamas as of late.

Kacey Musgraves performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.

Her setlist continued with further live exploration of her newest material with each song being fully embraced by fans’ with hearts wide open. Star-Crossed may not be the best situation for lovers to find themselves in, but it is a good place to find yourself on a cold Chicago night.

The music of Musgraves is a cathartic reminder that we need to go through dark times to better experience the Golden Hour waiting around the bend.

Kacey Musgraves performs at the United Center in Chicago on Jan. 20, 2022.

Kacey Musgraves United Center Setlist

star-crossed
good wife
cherry blossom
simple times
breadwinner
Golden Hour
Butterflies
Lonely Weekend
Space Cowboy
High Horse
camera roll
hookup scene
Merry Go ‘Round
Dreams (Fleetwood Mac cover)
justified
there is a light
gracias a la vida

Encore

Slow Burn
Rainbow

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Laurie Fanelli

Laurie Fanelli is a Chicago-based writer and photographer who specializes in live entertainment coverage. She is at home at major music festivals like Coachella, Bonnaroo and, of course, Lollapalooza and...

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