Exclusive: Sugarland set for one-hour ABC concert special August 3

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The night before Sugarland’s concert DVD Live on the Inside hits a Wal-Mart store near you, anyone with a TV antenna (okay, um, TV digital converter box thingy) will be able to try before they buy: EW has learned exclusively that the Atlanta-based country duo will preview a selection of the DVD footage in a one-hour broadcast special, airing August 3rd on ABC.

Shot using 20 cameras during a single show in Lexington, Ken., last fall, the concert includes the band’s hits — “All I Want To Do,” “Baby Girl,” “Settlin'” — plus live staples like hoedown-in-the-round “Genevieve” and covers of R.E.M.’s “The One I Love” and “Nightswimming.” (Not coincidentally, the Wal-Mart DVD comes packaged with a CD of the band’s many covers.) “We’ve always had a lot of confidence in our live shows because our fans keep telling us, ‘Wow, I had no idea,'” says Sugarland co-frontperson/fedora aficianado Kristian Bush. “But there just aren’t enough days in the year to go and play for everybody. Jennifer [Nettles] and I figured, ‘Well, we might as well film it.’ Our music began as a word of mouth experience, and I think our shows are, too — so we’re just trying to get to as many people as we can so they can spread it as far as they can.”

Country music specials have been reliably successful of late — the recent George Strait “Artist of the Decade” fiesta won its timeslot handily — and for ABC, running something like this in the dog days of humiliation-heavy summer programming is certainly low-risk. But what’s the viewing incentive for those not already converted to the Sugarland message of hope n’ love? “If you’re gonna try something new for an hour, and your choices are a guy falling into mud, or a Sugarland show in Rupp Arena, I recommend the Sugarland show,” Bush laughs. “The guy’s gonna fall into mud tomorrow or next week, but the Sugarland show’s only gonna happen once.” Unless you buy the DVD the next day, naturally. “If you go buy the DVD, you’re just gonna be sitting in your 5.1-surround-sound house, freaking out, watching it over and over again,” Bush says, presumably in (infinite?) jest.

For a sneak peek at what’s in store, check out Sugarland’s video for “Love” after the jump, which — based on the band’s recent set lists — will likely be the special’s opening number. (“It looks like the superhero version of what we do,” says Bush of the Shaun Silva-directed footage.) Then tell us in the comments: Who’s excited? If you’re not already a Sugarland fan, is it worth tuning in for? And what’s the last non-cable, non-Christmas-or-awards-show-related concert special you watched? I see Celine Dion had one last year. Is Sugarland better than Celine Dion? Did I really just ask that question out loud?

addCredit(“Valarie Allyn Bienas”)

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  • Michelle

    IS it weird that I’m more excited for the CD of covers than I am the show? I mean I love Sugarland, but I’ve seen them live about 10 times now. Always an awesome show. But those covers…I’ll be glad to hear them whenever I want and not just in the context of the live show!

  • Sarah

    This is exciting for any Sugarland fan! I can’t wait! I mean I already planned on going out and getting the DVD on the 4th anyway, but this is cool! Whitney, I think you’re my favorite journalist. You seem to love Sugarland, which in my book, makes you an AWESOME person! :D I will be tuning in on the 3rd.
    As for the last thing other than an Awards show or Christmas Special…hmm…I think it would be the George Strait special. And to answer your question, Yes, Sugarland is better…and its TOTALLY ok that you said that out loud.. :D

  • John

    Well, I like Celine a lot more than SL!!

  • Pat

    I think sugarland has a terrific voice I love thie new song Love . I won’t say she’s better than Celine but she comes close

  • Janet in St. Louis

    I can only take so much of Jennifer Netttle’s voice. I just find her her voice to be quite annoying. We saw Suarland in concert opening for Keith Urban in St. Louis. I don’t think i would go to another Sugarland concert however I’d go see Keith Urban anyday!

  • Cathy

    I love Jennifers voice, but I wish Kristian got to sing more often. I like his voice too.

  • Jessica

    Defintely excited!!! The overall Sugarland experience is incredible. They came nearby and I couldn’t afford to see them, and I still haven’t gotten over it. They’re different and she’s certainly got an accent, but that’s part of the appeal. As evidenced by the recent CMT awards, Sugarland is one of the very few acts that sound just as good live as they do on CD. They perform so well together too. I think they’re awesome and can’t wait to see this.

  • KM

    I’m so excited now. I’m not a big fan of country music, but I love Sugarland. I saw them interviewed on Chelsea Lately and it was hilarious, and I’ve been a fan ever since. They’re funny, and they have great music. I’ll definitely be watching this and I don’t normally watch TV specials. I think the last one I watched was Madonna’s Confessions tour. Ha.

  • Stacy

    Yay! Sugarland getting your due! They are the best show in any genre right now (okay, maybe a little biased) but they are the only ones I will pay to go out and see again and again. Glad they have this opportunity to show a little bit of what it’s like when you say “I Was There”.

  • Jim

    I’m not a big fan of country music, either. In fact, I dislike it pretty strongly. That said, I LOVE SUGARLAND.
    They first showed up on my radar because I’m a big fan of Better Than Ezra, and their drummer, Travis McNabb, had been touring with them the past few years while Ezra was on hiatus. But when he recently made the decision to leave BTE and work with Sugarland full time, I knew they must have something special. And they do. Their music is amazing, and their stage show is even better. Plain and simple, they have talent…And it took an old friend heading out with them for me to realize it.
    This band has something special. If they could win over a dyed-in-the-wool country-phobe like me, they’d impress anyone!

  • Matt2

    Sugarland can sing their A$$es off! I bet that is going to be an amazing show. Can’t wait!

  • bj
  • Jon

    Celine has had many hour long television specials…These are special Times Christmas special, A New Day Has Come Special, A New Day live in Las Vegas, and Thats just the woman in me. I think all of them were aired on CBS!!! Sugarland is good but not in the same category as Celine. Just had to answer the question!!!

  • Dhgkfjj

    I have to say that I like Sugarland but I love Céline way better becuz she is 1 of my 2 favorite singers ever!!!! But I’ll definitely watch the tv special of Sugarland!!!

  • Don helms

    I heard about the special and the release of the CD and then found out it is not new. No new music Just a DVD with what was on the last CD….. Get with it your fans deserve beter

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