GIG REVIEW: Cam – Live At The Islington Assembly Hall, London

Cam’s intimate show at The Tabernacle last year was probably my favourite show of 2017. She never ceases to amaze me with her utterly flawless vocal delivery – damn, that girl’s got some lungs on her! She’s one of the most genuine, loveliest personalities in country music too, and that always comes across so well on stage. The UK fan base really seems to have connected with her in a special way, and they turned out in force for her headline show at the Islington Assembly Hall. This was a different kind of show – yes, it was still just Cam and her two Swedish guitar players, but the atmosphere was completely different and the much larger capacity resulted in a truly unforgettable (and very loud!) evening.

Essex-based singer-songwriter Lisa Wright opened the show. We’ve been fans of Lisa for quite a while now, there’s a delicate intricacy to her song writing that I absolutely adore, and her beautiful live delivery was on show for everyone to experience. She had the audience in the palm of her hand after a couple of songs, once the newbies had grasped the level of talent they were watching. She’s just so likeable; a typical down-to-earth, self-deprecating Essex girl with bags of ability – I don’t actually think she realises how good she is. If this performance was anything to go by, it’s surely only a matter of time until Lisa gets that big break. Somebody really needs to take a chance on her.

Cam stepped on to the stage to a rapturous reception, kicking off the show with her latest single ‘Diane’, which has evidently already become a firm favourite amongst the fans. The reaction to it clearly blew her away; this was without doubt one of the loudest crowds I’ve ever been a part of! It hasn’t quite made its mark on country radio yet, but it’s certainly made its mark on the adoring fans. The venue was full of die-hards that new every word to every song (I have absolutely no regrets about my 90 minutes of fangirling), including the album cuts like ‘Hungover On Heartache’, ‘Half Broke Heart’ and ‘Cold In California’.

She’s keeping the new album tightly wrapped at the moment, but she did give us a little taste. ‘Forgetting You When I’m Alone’ was inspired by the smoky essence of a hotel room, reminding her of a love that just keeps on creeping back into your memory. This was the highlight of the show for me; the depth of the song writing is simply phenomenal, and she absolutely belted the hell out of it. Goose bumps! If this is the standard of the new album, we could be looking at a monumental release that will easily feature in many ‘top albums’ lists in December.

One of my personal favourites is ‘Down This Road’, the first song Cam ever had on country radio. It’s such a relatable story of coming home and feeling instantly at ease, no matter how long you’ve been away. It’s a gorgeous track and I’ve always thought it was a travesty that it never became the hit that ‘Burning House’ eventually did. She’d had a request to perform it; refreshing to know that it’s still having an impact on the fans despite its lack of exposure. She also treated us to a couple more non-album tracks, including the ferocious ‘Manhunt’ and of course, ‘Fireball’, an “irresponsible drinking” anthem for all you Fireball Whiskey lovers!

Whilst she’s been in the UK, Cam has also been appearing with Sam Smith at his O2 shows, performing a duet of ‘Palace’ which she wrote for Sam’s album. It’s a real spine-tingler, and thankfully she included it in her headline set list too. It was wonderful to hear the song with just a couple of guitars, almost like we were transported back in time to the writing room.

She couldn’t leave us without doing ‘Burning House’, lighting up the room and prompting the usual ‘put your arms around each other’ routine for the final chorus! Undeniably one of the songs of the century. Then, as the reaction to ‘Diane’ was so great at the start of the show, she returned to the stage to perform it one more time, which had the rowdy crowd bouncing up and down and loving every moment! It was another one of those ‘I was there’ nights that we won’t be forgetting in a hurry – come back soon Cam!

Dan Wharton
@LifeInASong_Dan

Set List:

  1. Diane
  2. Hungover on Heartache
  3. Mayday
  4. Half Broke Heart
  5. My Mistake
  6. Forgetting You When I’m Alone
  7. Down This Road
  8. Runaway Train
  9. Manhunt
  10. Cold in California
  11. Palace
  12. Village
  13. Country Ain’t Never Been Pretty
  14. Fireball
  15. Burning House
  16. Diane