Friday evening’s headline act for C2C 2016 was Miranda Lambert. There is little doubt that her appearance was greatly anticipated and somewhat overdue.
She had not performed in Europe previously and was reported to be anxious about appearing on a UK stage.
Strictly speaking this was not actually her first performance at C2C. She had unexpectedly made an appearance on Thursday evening at the CMA Songwriters Series in the Indigo at the O2.
She performed a full set for the arena crowd with a list of 18 songs spanning her extensive and very successful music career.
This is a lady that has consistently won best female country artist at the CMA awards over the last few years and although the nerves were apparent in the early part of her set she quickly hit her stride and showed why she is so hugely respected by her peers.
The audience were clearly with her from the outset. Her opening tracks ‘Kerosene’ and ‘Fastest Girl in Town’ both guitar driven country-rock tracks had the crowd up and dancing.
The country side of Miranda was exposed on ‘Heart Like Mine’ with it’s slide guitar opening and building guitar riffs. Her vocal performance was stunning and the audience reaction reflected this.
She has recorded 6 studio albums and has an extensive back catalogue to call upon. However, a very special moment in her set list was her rendition of ‘Sweet By and By’, a track that Miranda has recorded for producer Dave Cobb’s upcoming all star compilation album ‘Southern Family’. The song is a tribute to her parents and the support of family. Her live rendition was very well received despite it being a song that was almost certainly unfamiliar to the majority of the crowd. A future hit record in the making.
The pace remained low key for the superb ‘Over You’ a track that she wrote with ex-husband Blake Shelton which scooped the ACM award for Song of the year in 2013.
Miranda’s performance of ‘Bathroom Sink’ at last year’s CMA awards from her ‘Platinum’ album was a highlight of that show and she repeated it here. If Miranda had any doubts about performing her music on our patch the reaction from the crowd totally removed them.
It was plain sailing for her thereafter. ‘Baggage Claim’ followed by ‘Tush’, featuring an unscripted false introduction by the band who were playing a different song! “Jet Lag” announced Miranda with a laugh before they all rebooted with the very rocky ZZ Top Cover.
Other highlights were the mainly acoustic versions of ‘All Kinds of Kinds” and ‘Smokin’ and Drinkin’’. The latter is taken from Miranda’s current album ‘Platinum’ and featured Little Big Town on the studio recording. She didn’t have LBT backing her here. They were due on stage the following evening but her performance sounded top drawer nevertheless.
‘Mama’s Broken Heart’ will always be a crowd favourite and the O2 crowd lapped it up before being treated to two of Miranda’s best songs, the majestic ‘House That Built Me’ and ‘Automatic’.
Her vocals were allowed to shine here without the intrusive backing accompaniment which occasionally drowned out her vocals. The O2 arena has superb acoustics and Miranda’s qualities as an excellent singer were exposed to perfection during this period in the show.
‘White Liar’, ‘Little Red Wagon’ and ‘Gunpowder and Lead’ followed before she introduced her fellow Pistol Annies singer Ashley Monroe onto the stage for a sublime version of Carole King’s ‘You’ve Got A Friend’. Both performed this classic song beautifully, accompanied by acoustic guitar, and the audience participation added to the moment. Another highlight.
The encore was a cover of the Rolling Stones classic ‘Bitch’. Whatever doubts she had about playing in the UK surely would have disappeared following the crowd’s reaction to this set.
A very good end to a very good first day at this year’s C2C festival.
Fastest Girl In Town
Heart Like Mine
Sweet By And By
All Kinds of Kinds
Smokin’ and Drinkin’
Mama’s Broken Heart
The House That Built Me
Little Red Wagon
Gunpowder and Lead
You’ve Got A Friend