Country2Country was a big moment for Chase Rice. Still yet to have a #1 hit under his belt, it was a huge opportunity for him on the main stage to cement a strong UK fan base for future tours. His excitement for the show was clear, and it was refreshing to see him with his full band setup and the big stage production. Acoustically, Chase does the job, but you really have to see an artist like him in a louder, more energetic environment to really appreciate their craft.
It’s never the easiest position, having to open the main stage at C2C. The die-hards will always be in attendance, but there always seems to be a few thousand who don’t make it into the arena very early. Chase suffered from that and it’s almost impossible to build an atmosphere with a steady trickle of people making their way in. Not his fault. That being said, I was impressed with Chase’s stage presence and his ‘likeability factor’, if you will. He’s a lovely, down-to-earth guy and connects very easily with audiences big or small. You’re just willing him to do well, regardless of whether you like his music or not.
He kicked off the set with the anthemic ‘On Tonight’ from his well-received ‘Lambs & Lions’ record, followed by ‘Jack Daniels Showed Up’ which went down well with the party animals in the crowd. It wasn’t long though before he brought out the more familiar material, such as ‘Gonna Wanna Tonight’ and ‘Three Chords And The Truth’. The latter is by far Chase’s strongest song and epitomises the spirit of country music. Melodically slick and audience participation-inducing, it’s made for arenas.
‘Eyes On You’ was a big highlight too. A good, radio-friendly sing-along that’s generating a lot of traction in the states right now. Chase firmly believes it will be his #1 hit, and it’s certainly heading that way. It’s one of those songs that’s difficult not to like, and it seemed to be a big favourite for the O2 crowd.
We could have done without the overtly-sexual ‘Ride’, which felt a little uncomfortable when a woman from the crowd was brought on stage and sang to. Maybe that kind of thing works in the states, but I couldn’t help but feel slightly awkward. It’s a poor song anyway, and I certainly wouldn’t have chosen it when you consider he’d only got 9 songs to showcase his catalogue.
‘Cruise’, which Chase wrote for FGL, put the set back on track soon after. The country standard is always a safe choice to crank up the energy at C2C, and it set the tone for a strong end to the set. ‘Ready Set Roll’, his first big hit single, brought the show to a close and Chase left the stage to a warm reaction. It won’t go down as one of the historic C2C sets, but Chase certainly hasn’t done his UK reputation any harm, and we look forward to his return.
1. On Tonight
2. Jack Daniel’s Showed Up
3. Gonna Wanna Tonight
4. Three Chords & the Truth
5. Eyes On You
8. Jack Daniels & Jesus
9. Ready Set Roll