GIG REVIEW: The Shires – Live Stream (Stabal)

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It’s probably an understatement to say that we’ve all seen our fair share of live streams over the past 12 months. We’ve had an insight into the living rooms of some of our favourite acts (the joys of lockdown!), and we’ve also seen some wonderful recordings from (sadly) empty venues. Very few, however, have done it better than Ben and Crissie of The Shires, who put on an incredible stream at the weekend in association with online platform Stabal. 4K, full band, top notch video production and damn good audio to match. This is how you do a live stream.

You have to feel for Ben and Crissie. They put out an incredible album in Good Years last year and had a huge tour lined up to promote the album, only for a global pandemic to squash their plans. This streamed event was their first opportunity to play some of the new material live, and it was a real joy to behold. Songs like ‘About Last Night’, ‘Independence Day’ and ‘Lightning Strikes’ are tailor made for the live shows, and this was a great indication of the energy these songs will bring when we can finally get back to normality.

We were also treated to performances of two of the slower, more ponderous offerings on the album, ‘On The Day I Die’ and ‘Crazy Days’, with the latter closing the show. Both of these songs have become so poignant over the last year, encouraging us all to make the most of life and to be thankful for what we have, despite the troubles we’ve all been through. The piano-led performance of ‘Crazy Days’ was a fine way to bring the show to an end, leaving us all in a reflective mindset. Absolutely killer vocals from the duo, once again proving why they’re our flagship homegrown country act.

Elsewhere in the set, we were taken on a journey right from the incarnation of The Shires with the Brave album, all the way through to Accidentally On Purpose and the aforementioned Good Years. They’ve built such a strong body of work at this point that there are always a bunch of top quality songs left out, which is a great problem to have. 

You can always guarantee a fine mixture of up-tempo bangers and vulnerable ballads in a Shires set list, and this show was no different. The likes of ‘Echo’, ‘Guilty’ and fan favourite ‘A Thousand Hallelujahs’ brought such energy, and simply begged for a big old singalong (we’ll get there eventually!), whilst oldies like ‘I Just Wanna Love You’ and ‘Brave’ offered some lovely nostalgia for all you loyal Shires fans out there. 

Highlights included a stunning performance of ‘Daddy’s Little Girl’, the timeless ‘State Lines’ and the euphoric ‘River Of Love’, a personal favourite of ours from the Accidentally On Purpose album. A great example of the quality on offer throughout each of the four albums, if you dig underneath the radio singles.

Ben said it was an “indescribable feeling to be doing this”, and hopefully that feeling will be universal soon when we can all get back together and see the real thing. This was a thoroughly enjoyable, well presented night of fabulous music that we can’t recommend highly enough.

If you’d like to watch the stream, it can still be accessed here: https://watch.stabal.com/products/the-shires-live-online-deluxe

Set List:

Lightning Strikes
Echo
About Last Night
All Over Again
I Just Wanna Love You
Daddy’s Little Girl
My Universe
On The Day I Die
River Of Love
Guilty
Independence Day
Brave
State Lines
Friday Night
Nashville Grey Skies
A Thousand Hallelujahs
Tonight
Crazy Days

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