C2C 2016: Sam Hunt

P101000212 months ago Sam Hunt performed on a pop-up stage at C2C 2015.

He caused a frenzy and created mayhem for the security guys whose duty it was to keep the walkways moving. He played a few songs acoustically with the same bunch of guys who appear regularly as he backing band.

The reaction was immense. It was obvious that we were witnessing a star in the making and he has gone on to another level since then.

His album Montevallo has been the success story of 2015 selling over a million copies and including 3 platinum US chart toppers.

It was natural that he would be back and this time he was part of the Saturday arena line up.

Strictly speaking it wasn’t the first occasion he had played there having sung 2 songs on the arena’s satellite stage last year, but now he was second on the main bill following Maddie and Tae.

Sam burst onto the scene in 2013 shortly before signing a major recording deal with MCA Nashville. His show opener here was his first single and first number one ‘Leave The Night On’.

All of Sam’s set contained tried and tested and very familiar tunes. He is a great songwriter and it felt as though we were hearing most of the musical anthems of last year.

His energy and performance levels are top drawer and the reaction of the crowd was very predictably ecstatic. Sam can do no wrong with his fans.

‘Ex To See’ followed. A fairly minor hit by Sam’s standards but nevertheless a fine song that had the crowd accompaniment it deserved.

The ‘Montevallo’ tracks continued with ‘Raised On It’ and ‘Single For The Summer’ before Sam covered a song that was a hit for Keith Urban, ‘Cop Car’. However “cover” would be somewhat unfair considering the fact that he actually wrote it.

The album opener ‘Take Your Time’ was performed impeccably and this produced the best sing-a-long of the set from a very adoring crowd. This is a song I feel like I heard every day last year but it was great to hear Sam’s live version

Sam’s talents as a songwriter for other artists came to the fore again with ‘We Are Tonight’, a hit for Billy Currington. I doubt if anyone was expecting a mash up with Rhianna’s ‘We Found Love’ however.

It must be an absolute joy as a songwriter to have a song like ‘House Party’ up your sleeve. I can’t imagine a better anthem to sing to a pumped up O2 crowd than this one. They certainly knew how to party!

Sam closed with ‘Break Up In Small Town’ his current US hit single.

This performance reinforced my amazement that Sam Hunt isn’t a major mainstream artist in this country. The ‘Montevallo’ album contains a collection of songs that stack up against anything on offer in our UK chart.

He’s not typical ‘country’ but no one was questioning that on Saturday at a very rowdy and enthusiastic O2 arena.

My only slight criticism was the fact that the songs are becoming just a tad dated. He actually performed the same songs last year. If Sam can match the quality on a new album he would really be entering mega status.

Setlist:

Leave The Night On
Ex To See
Raised On It
Single for the Summer
Cop Car
Take your Time
We Are Tonight/We Found Love
House Party
Break Up In A Small Town