C2C 2016: Chris Stapleton

P1010035It must involve a fair degree of planning and to some extent guess work to select artists for the main event at the C2C festival. Schedules have to be arranged months in advance before the roster can be announced. Whoever was responsible, take a bow. They managed to select the hottest country act in the world.

‘Traveller’, Chris Stapleton’s only album, was released May 5th 2015. Before that he was a very close guarded secret in the Nashville community where he was predominately a song writer.

Not too many country fans had heard of him. His career exploded at the CMA awards in December with his Justin Timberlake duet. Since then he has become very hot property.

We have no idea when C2C booked him for the festival but we suspect it was long before then. We were therefore treated to a performer that a packed O2 arena greatly appreciated. Boy did he deliver.

Those who were fortunate to be there won’t need to be reminded just how good he was. They will probably remember it for the rest of their lives.

It was definitely an “I was there” moment.

He treated the arena like a small intimate bar. His two-piece band and wife Morgane were dwarfed on the huge stage but you only really need to hear their voices, and the sound system was superb.

From the opening bars of ‘Nobody To Blame’ to the closing bars of ‘Tennessee Whiskey’ the audience were spellbound.

It’s the old adage that it’s easy to get an audience to clap along but it’s hard to keep everyone silent. By silent I really mean captivated. Words can never do justice to the unique voice that he possesses.

The appeal is heightened by the absolute modesty of the man. He said that he thought he should sing ‘If It Hadn’t Been For Love’ because a “British singer” had recorded it. He didn’t even mention that that singer was Adele.

Special mention has to go to his performance of ‘Whiskey And You’. He was left alone on stage with his acoustic guitar and produced a rendition that can only be described as magical. We suspect a large percentage of the audience were in tears throughout (us included!).

The standing ovation that followed was the best for any performer all weekend.

His wife Morgane showed us why she also has a recording contract herself with lead on ‘You Are My Sunshine’, the 1930’s classic.

‘Tennessee Whiskey’ closed the set. The performance was too short and the crowd definitely wanted more. A mere eight songs would never have been enough and I wished that the protocol that is adhered to by acts earlier on the bill not doing encores could have been relaxed.

He will be back that’s for certain. Most would relish him headlining either at C2C 2017 or on his own tour.

This performance confirmed his growing status as an international star.

Setlist:

Nobody to blame

Might As Well Get Started

If It Hadn’t Been For Love

Whiskey and You

Traveller

Fire Away

You Are My Sunshine

Tennessee Whiskey