GIG REVIEW: Cam – Live At O2 Institute2, Birmingham

UK fan favourite Cam returned to the UK for a run of shows last week, and boy did she deliver! It hasn’t been the easiest few months for her, having recently moved from Sony Nashville to RCA in New York. ‘Diane’ hasn’t become the smash-hit it massively deserved to be, and we’re still patiently waiting for that sophomore album, which for whatever reason seems to be taking an age. Despite all that, she was on top form in Birmingham last Thursday, delighting the crowd with a range of fan favourites from her debut album ‘Untamed’, as well as a few off-the-record tracks that went down a treat.

Cam’s guitarist, Anders Mouridsen, opened the show with some of his own original material. Using only an electric guitar, Anders captivated the crowd with his distinct style of rather dark, edgy song writing, with some great stories too including his big move to America to be a musician and writer. His personality and warmth was just as important as the quality of his music; he connected with the crowd instantly and you could have heard a pin drop during his performances. We all particularly loved having a giggle at the final track ‘Humans’ – it must be on YouTube somewhere, check it out!

Soon after, Cam took the stage, joined by Anders and another guitarist (forgive me, his name has escaped me!). She’s had a sofa on stage for every show on this tour, creating a living room-style environment which is perfect for story-telling and a community feel between artist and fans. She kicked off her set with her latest release, the gorgeous ‘Road To Happiness’, a wonderfully honest song about fame and success not always bringing the happiness that one would assume. It was incredible to hear the crowd singing along to this one; a brand new track with no radio play, yet the Birming-Cams were in full voice!

She followed up with fan favourites ‘Mayday’ and ‘My Mistake’, two perfect examples of how country radio has neglected one of the brightest stars we have in the genre. It was great to hear ‘Village’ too, my personal favourite from the debut album which always silences a room and brings out the goosebumps during the live shows. It’s moments like these where you see Cam at her most powerful best – utterly flawless with her vocal delivery, she makes it look totally effortless and not many can convey emotion in a song quite like she can.

My favourite part of the set was her performances of ‘Palace’ (recorded by Sam Smith) and new song ‘Forgetting You When I’m Alone’. Song writing just doesn’t get much better than this. The former reminds us that “real love is never a waste of time”, and through her performance you feel like Cam has lived each and every word of the song. A real tear-jerker that leaves her so vulnerable and exposed on stage – you have to be some vocalist to pull it off, and she absolutely nails it every time. ‘Forgetting You When I’m Alone’ was written with the queen of country song writing, Lori McKenna, and I desperately hope it makes it onto the next album. It’s the power ballad of all power ballads, and it absolutely raised the roof.

Other highlights included the hilarious ‘Fireball Whiskey’, the “unofficial” Fireball anthem which Cam pitched to the company, only to be told that it “promotes irresponsible drinking”! It always goes down well with the fans and puts a smile on people’s faces. Great fun! Of course, she finished the set with ‘Burning House’ and ‘Diane’ which prompted the biggest reaction of the night, before returning to the stage for a stunning performance of Patsy Cline’s ‘Sweet Dreams’.

Rumour has it that she might be returning to our shores in March for C2C. If that proves to be true, let’s hope they give her a main stage slot this time. It’s where she well and truly belongs!

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan