You can never go wrong with Lady Antebellum. Admittedly, they weren’t at the top of my wish list for this year’s C2C as we’ve seen them fairly frequently in the UK over the last few years, but you know you’re always in for a top, top night when Charles, Hillary and Dave are in town. One of the most polished, slick live acts in country music. This was their second headline appearance at C2C, and they more than matched the euphoria of their debut.
Performance of the night, and one of the best performances of the whole weekend, was ‘Hello World’, an absolute gem of a track from their ‘Need You Now’ album. They haven’t done it live for a few years now, but they’ve dug it out for their recent Vegas residency shows and their UK run. Complete with the dramatic instrumental to finish, it was an utterly flawless rendition that I’d been dying to see again, ever since their ‘Own The Night Tour’ a long time ago. We also had the likes of ‘When You Got A Good Thing’ (which was a very unexpected but welcome choice!) and ‘Lookin’ For A Good Time’ to take us back to the early days of Lady A. It was such a refreshing set list.
The trio also threw in a couple of brand new songs from their forthcoming album, for us to be the guinea pigs! ‘Never Get Over You’ and ‘Be Patient With My Love’ left us all desperately craving that new full-length project, which will be their first with Big Machine. Both tracks felt like a return to the early Lady A vibe that made us all fall in love with them, as opposed to the more mainstream, pop-oriented offerings on the ‘Heartbreak’ and ‘747’ albums. The latter, ‘Be Patient…’, is clearly a very special one for Charles, who dedicated it to his wife (and road wife Hillary!) and went on to explain how he’s “not the easiest to be in a band with”. They’ve clearly been through some challenging times in recent years and it was a very open, honest confession for Charles to make. The song didn’t disappoint, either.
Carly Pearce and Hunter Hayes were welcomed back on to the stage for a really cool rendition of Niall Horan’s ‘Slow Hands’. We’d heard one of Keith Urban’s band members sing it on the Friday night too; it’s such an anthemic song to do at a place like the O2 and it makes for some great audience participation. Speaking of sing-alongs, there were plenty of those moments throughout the night, particularly with fan favourites ‘Bartender’, ‘American Honey’ and ‘You Look Good’. It must be awesome for the guys to have such a strong back catalogue now, knowing for a fact that 20,000 people will love whatever they choose to do.
Finishing the main part of the set with ‘Love Don’t Live Here’, they left the stage temporarily as the crowd roared for more. Of course, we were all waiting for those four piano notes from ‘Need You Now’! When they returned to the stage, the arena was rocking. We’ve all heard the song a million times now, but there’s still a chill that runs through me when that chorus kicks in. Then, to close the show it was ‘We Owned The Night’ which always sounds incredible live and provides a high-energy ending with that killer guitar riff.
Charles, Hillary and Dave provide value for money every single time and will always be a safe choice for the C2C organisers. Their material is timeless and they’re like a fine wine – they just seem to get better with age!
1. I Run to You
3. Just a Kiss
4. Heart Break
6. American Honey
7. Never Get Over You
8. Lookin’ For a Good Time / Suspicious Minds
9. Our Kind of Love
10. Hello World
11. When You Got a Good Thing / Dancin’ Away With My Heart / Wanted You More
12. Be Patient With My Love
13. Slow Hands (Niall Horan cover with Carly Pearce and Hunter Hayes)
14. You Look Good
16. Love Don’t Live Here
17. Need You Now
18. We Owned the Night