Where on earth shall I start with this one?! What a night we had on Saturday at The O2, watching the legendary Brad Paisley. It was a night full of singalongs and surprises from a man who consistently delivers when it comes to live performances. A Brad Paisley show is one of those where you can easily forget just how many hits he’s had; it’s iconic intro after iconic intro. A set list crammed with timeless classics that went on for over two hours. Easily one of the best shows of 2019.
Chris Lane opened the show, making his first ever appearance in the UK. A debut in front of 15,000+ people at the O2 Arena, no biggie! The reaction to his set was great, and the fans seemed to connect with him very quickly. Chris is in a nice position now where he’s got a few radio hits under his belt, so there’s instantly that feeling of familiarity that other support acts don’t have the benefit of. With songs like ‘Fix’, ‘I Don’t Know About You’ and ‘Take Back Home Girl’, you could feel the bond between him and the crowd becoming stronger throughout the set.
Add in a medley of 90’s country classics and you’ve pretty much checked the boxes for a Saturday night party – ‘Friends In Low Places’ is an immediate game-changer in any set list! I must mention his performance of ‘For Her’, too, where he brought a young girl up on stage for a serenade, as he traditionally does for that part of his show. I’m not entirely sure she knew who he was, and she looked terrified from start to finish, bless her! Chris dealt with the situation with class and a smile; it all added to the fun!
Brad opened with a super-charged start to his show, powering through about six songs before he even said a word to the crowd. The iconic ‘Southern Comfort Zone’ kicked things off, followed by a medley of favourites like ‘The World’, ‘Perfect Storm’ and ‘Then’. It was a shame we didn’t hear the full songs in this section, but I suppose when you’ve got a legendary back catalogue the size of Brad’s, there has to be a compromise to fit them all in!
The visuals on the big screens were superb throughout, and encapsulated Brad’s creativity and dry sense of humour brilliantly. During the ‘fake ID’ line in ‘Last Time For Everything’, I properly laughed out loud when Brad’s fake ID showed up with “Sex: Tonnes” written on it! It’s those little quirky things that make Brad such a lovable character and it adds so much extra to the show.
During the second half of the set, Brad made his way to the ‘satellite’ stage at the back of the arena to perform a few songs acoustically, which was a really special part of the show. Songs like ‘We Danced’ and especially ‘Letter To Me’ are songs that you wouldn’t necessarily expect Brad to include, but they’re timeless classics that are right up there with the best Brad has ever released. They were followed by ‘Crushin’ It’ and ‘I’m Gonna Miss Her’, leading into ‘Time Warp’ and ‘River Bank’ with Brad in full-on comedy song mode!
The surprises started soon after. Ward Thomas were welcomed onto the stage to duet on ‘Whiskey Lullaby’, a very proud moment for the girls, who added some nice harmonies. It was one of three collaborations, as Chris Lane was brought back out for a cover of ‘A Country Boy Can Survive’. I don’t think many people were expecting the third one though… Keith Urban. As he was in town for his performance on Strictly Come Dancing, he first of all jumped on stage with Hootie and the Blowfish at the Apollo, then made his way across to the O2 on the tube for Brad’s encore! Arguably the two best guitarists in country music; it was such a joy to witness them shredding on Merle Haggard’s ‘Workin’ Man Blues’.
Brad also had his first introduction to the ‘Mona Conga’ during ‘The Mona Lisa’. You’ve got to feel for the security guys, who were clearly trying to follow instructions and do their jobs by ushering people back to their seats, only to find a few hundred people doing exactly the same thing! Congrats are in order for all involved in the conga – getting a shout out from Brad on stage is the pinnacle!
All in all, a fantastic night in the company of a country music icon, as expected. You know exactly what you’re going to get from a Brad Paisley show; he never disappoints. One we’ll be looking back on for many years to come!
Southern Comfort Zone
A Country Boy Can Survive (with Chris Lane) / I’m Still A Guy
This Is Country Music
American Saturday Night
Last Time For Everything / Purple Rain
Letter To Me
I’m Gonna Miss Her
Whiskey Lullaby (with Ward Thomas)
Mud On The Tires
The Mona Lisa (with Keith Urban)
Workin’ Man Blues (with Keith Urban)
Alcohol (with Chris Lane, Keith Urban and Ward Thomas)