GIG REVIEW: Brett Eldredge – O2 Institute, Birmingham

LifeInASong_UK

Brett Eldredge was one of the stand-out performers at C2C 2019, so anticipation for his follow-up UK tour was inevitably high. Having taken a break from social media and kept himself away from the spotlight for a while, Brett finally has new music on the horizon, and this was a great chance for fans to get up-close and personal in intimate venues, and to get a taste of what the new album has to offer. As expected, Brett (and opening act Lauren Jenkins) put on a fantastic evening at the O2 Institute in Birmingham that cranked up the excitement for album 4.

Lauren Jenkins had never played in Birmingham before, aside from a guest appearance with Patrick Davis at the Hootie & The Blowfish show back in October, so there were many in attendance who wouldn’t have seen her before. She certainly made a good first impression (we’ll forgive her for thinking she was in Cambridge!). Performing a collection of songs from her ‘No Saint’ record (highly recommended), such as ‘Maker’s Mark and You’, ‘Give Up The Ghost’ and the superb ‘Running Out Of Road’, she held her own without any backing whatsoever. Throwing in her recently-released Springsteen cover, ‘Hungry Heart’, probably helped her cause, too! She’s had a great response everywhere on this tour – long may the growth of her UK fan base continue.

Opening with a superb new track, ‘Good Day’, Brett lit up the room straight away with his signature charisma and stage presence. An instantly loveable, up-beat track, it set the standard for the forthcoming album, and the Birmingham fans gave it a very warm reception. With the gorgeous piano-based ballad, ‘Crowd My Mind’, which came soon after, it’s fair to say the next project will continue Brett’s terrific track record of consistent quality. Both big hits in waiting; it seems Brett’s social media hiatus has fueled his creativity more than ever before.

A Brett Eldredge show now feels like hit-after-hit at times, with the incredibly fun ‘Somethin’ I’m Good At’ followed by his first smash-hit, ‘Don’t Ya’, and his most recent #1, ‘Love Someone’. He’s got a back catalogue that makes for a highly engaging singalong, as well as a huge bunch of album tracks that maintain the high quality from start to finish. Songs like ‘The Reason’ and ‘Fire’ are such infectious tracks that could easily have been hits, had they been given the exposure of a single release.

‘One Mississippi’ is another one to add to that list, and it was the highlight of the whole set for me. Backed by simply a piano, it allowed Brett’s vocal prowess to shine. He’s without doubt one of the best and most accomplished male vocalists in country music and never really gets that recognition as far as awards shows are concerned. That ability to capture the complete attention of a room full of people is a great talent and one that Brett has in abundance. This was showcased during his acoustic section of the show, where he performed his very emotional first single, ‘Raymond’, written about his Grandmother who suffered from Alzheimer’s, and the superb ‘The Long Way’, which just never gets old and remains one of his finest pieces of work to date.

Finishing with ‘Beat Of The Music’, he left the stage to an incredibly warm response from his adoring Birmingham fans. It drove home the fact that we are so, so lucky to see artists of Brett’s stature in such small venues. This was a show deserving of a much larger venue (not that we’re complaining!), and hopefully Brett will keep returning to our shores and continue to build from the ground up. A thoroughly enjoyable night.

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan

Set list:

Good Day
Somethin’ I’m Good At
Don’t Ya
Love Someone
Crowd My Mind
Drunk On Your Love
Crazy Little Thing Called Love (Queen Cover)
Raymond
The Long Way
Lose My Mind
The Reason
Mean To Me
Fire
Wanna Be That Song
One Mississippi
Beat Of The Music

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