Carrie Underwood, the uncrowned queen of modern country music, is known for flashy outfits and extravagant stage productions. Those are among the many reasons why she's been named entertainer of the year three times by the Academy of Country Music, most recently in 2020. Heck, last fall, she floated over the crowd on a swing at Target Center.

Underwood has twice come to the Twin Cities for big shows without all her bells and whistles — the Minnesota State Fair in 2015 and the now-defunct Twin Cities Summer Jam in 2021. That was the case again Friday night at Treasure Island Resort & Casino amphitheater in Red Wing.

It was just Underwood and her eight-person band. No costume changes, no frills onstage other than some arty images flashed on a screen behind the musicians. And it was Underwood at her best.

The 40-year-old superstar seemed more relaxed and looser than at her arena spectacles. There was no choreography, no marks to hit, no exits to the wardrobe room, no daring stunts, no new album to promote, no script to follow other than a set list. It was just songs to deliver.

The pride of Oklahoma is sort of between extended engagements. Her Denim & Rhinestones Tour, which brought her to Target Center in October, ended in March. She resumed her Las Vegas residency this summer, but she's on a break right now. So she squeezed in a couple of Midwestern shows this weekend, and she'll open three concerts for her beloved Guns N' Roses next month.

If her Minneapolis gig in the fall made it seem as if she were auditioning for a Guns N' Roses tribute band, her 100-minute performance Friday felt like Carrie being Carrie. She sang country hit after hit, from the bubblegum "All American Girl" to the rip-roaring "Before He Cheats," and she even got her GNR on with their "Paradise City," shaking her wavy blonde locks and screaming like Axl Rose's long-lost kid sister.

Even though she's had two-dozen No. 1 hits since winning "American Idol" in 2005, Friday's gig felt like Nashville's sweetheart letting her hair down belting tunes as if she were at an out-of-the-way Midwest honky-tonk. Except 15,000 fans would have made for a jam-packed barroom (and many wouldn't have been old enough to enter).

Dressed in matching sequined jacket and shorts with sort of a Good & Plenty color scheme of black, pink and white, Underwood did a handful of songs from 2022's "Denim & Rhinestones" but never mentioned the album. She did offer "Out of That Truck," her new song from the forthcoming deluxe edition of "D&R," saying "it was inevitable as a country artist that I'd sing about a truck at some point. If I wasn't destroying it. This one is a little sweeter."

Well, it was a toe-tapping kiss off in which she wished her ex good luck getting her smells and memories out of his Chevy Silverado. It was a nice change of pace Friday from Underwood in a lot of ways, especially since she didn't have to use her full lung power.

That's the thing about Underwood: Fans love her ability to soar where few women country singers have ever gone. And she did it often at Treasure Island, notably on the tornadic "Blown Away" and the slowly rising "Cry Pretty," when she seemed like a heartbroken lover pouring all her emotions into a low-ball glass.

Underwood showed her propensity to rock Nashville style with the banjo-driven foot stomper "Flat on the Floor," the almost full tilt "Hate My Heart" and the barn-burning strut "Last Name." And, unlike at Target Center, her rangy voice seldom entered shrill territory.

Props to fiddler/background singer Sydni Perry, who gave Underwood a fuller vocal sound. When it came time for the country queen to duet with Jason Aldean on their 2021 smash piano ballad, "If I Didn't Love You," she had to resort to him appearing via video projected onto a giant backdrop. That was about as close to stage gimmickry as Underwood got all night.