C2C REVIEW: Tim McGraw & Faith Hill – Friday 9th March 2018, The O2

Credit: Luke Dyson

The Soul2Soul show was the most-anticipated part of this year’s C2C for many in attendance. Social media blew up when Whispering Bob announced it on Radio 2; it was the moment that really sparked the excitement for the festival and raised a fair few eyebrows. A huge coup for C2C but it came at a price – Tim and Faith brought their huge show to the UK, including the extended stage which caused no end of problems for people who’d bought tickets in the front few rows of A2! It clearly took a lot of sacrifices to get them here, but it was certainly a popular move.

Nobody can complain that they didn’t get their money’s worth. Tim and Faith gave us over two hours of entertainment, the longest C2C headline show to date, and the whole production was simply stunning. Yes, it was lovey-dovey, full of cheese and a very rehearsed show, but that’s ultimately what you’re going to get with Soul2Soul. Quite a few people seemed to have issues with the sound quality, and I must admit I thought Tim’s vocal should have been much higher in the mix and the duets very much felt like Faith’s performances at times, but I was super impressed by the overall quality of the show.

They couldn’t have kicked it off with a more powerful start. A cover of Aretha Franklin and George Michael’s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting’ cranked up the atmosphere and the noise level in the arena as Tim and Faith’s die-hards lapped up every second. There really was a sense of amazement at The O2 to have these guys on UK soil together, a real buzz around the arena. Tim and Faith didn’t keep us waiting too long before bringing out the hits – ‘Felt Good On My Lips’ and ‘I Like It, I Love It’ to name a couple, capturing the hearts of long-time Tim fanatics.

Before their own solo sections in the show, they treated us to a couple of songs from their new album ‘The Rest Of Our Life’, including my personal favourite from the album, ‘Telluride’. This is an absolute stunner and pure, feel-good country music that had everyone on their feet, particularly during the instrumental, bluegrassy moments. ‘Break First’ was another from the new album, which they belted the hell out of, backed by some wonderfully dramatic visual effects on the big screens. A real sit-up-and-listen moment that totally gripped me.

Tim then left the stage for a little while whilst Faith gave us a string of powerful performances of familiar fan favourites. ‘This Kiss’…‘Breathe’…it doesn’t get much better than hearing Faith do these live! She even threw in a beautiful rendition of Erma Franklin’s classic ‘Piece Of My Heart’ at the end which she delivered with such passion, displaying her vocal prowess in abundance.

As good as Faith was, I got the impression from the atmosphere in the arena that the majority were probably waiting for Tim’s re-appearance. After returning for a duet on ‘Angry All The Time’, he took the limelight with a selection of timeless classics from various points in his career, starting with the anthemic ‘One Of Those Nights’. He rocked up proceedings with ‘Real Good Man’ followed by one of his more recent hits ‘Shotgun Rider’; then came one of my favourite moments from C2C 2018. ‘Live Like You Were Dying’ was an indescribable moment – the O2 completely lit up and the whole crowd sang along to one of the most iconic choruses out there, which Tim delivered in true McGraw style. And as if that wasn’t enough, he went straight into ‘Humble and Kind’, and I doubt there was a dry eye in the room. Just wow.

Faith returned to the stage as they joined forces once again for ‘Speak To A Girl’ and ‘It’s Your Love’, before they both ventured out into the audience for ‘Mississippi Girl’ (Faith) and ‘Something Like That’ (Tim), sending the fans into a frenzy! The encore was simplistic yet so effective – 2 chairs were placed on the extended stage area for a performance of ‘I Need You’, which felt like it turned the O2 into a very intimate setting.

My only gripe is that they didn’t do ‘Meanwhile Back At Mama’s’, but we can’t all have it our own way! It was such a privilege to witness this show outside of the US. Certainly a show that will live long in the memory, and one of C2C’s iconic moments. Sound issues aside – top drawer.

Dan Wharton

Set List:

  1. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Aretha Franklin & George Michael cover)
  2. Felt Good on My Lips
  3. The Lucky One
  4. I Like It, I Love It
  5. The Way You Love Me (Faith Hill)
  6. Like We Never Loved at All
  7. Break First
  8. Telluride
  9. Free (Faith Hill)
  10. This Kiss (Faith Hill)
  11. Breathe (Faith Hill)
  12. Wild One (Faith Hill)
  13. Stronger (Faith Hill)
  14. Piece of My Heart (Faith Hill)
  15. Angry All the Time
  16. One of Those Nights (Tim McGraw)
  17. Real Good Man (Tim McGraw)
  18. Shotgun Rider (Tim McGraw)
  19. Humble and Kind (Tim McGraw)
  20. Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw)
  21. Speak to a Girl
  22. It’s Your Love
  23. Mississippi Girl (Faith Hill)
  24. Something Like That (Tim McGraw)
  25. I Need You
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