We knew that it would be a memorable C2C festival when the opening act on the main stage sits top of the tree on Billboard’s Hot Country Songs chart.
For the first time in the festival’s four-year history we had the pleasure of an extra day, and the first artist was Thomas Rhett, one of country music’s hottest rising stars.
His brand of country music contrasts markedly from the artist following, none other than country music legend Dwight Yoakam, and the make up of the crowd at a very busy O2 Arena reflected this.
Would Thomas Rhett win over the audience? Judging by the reaction to his set, it has to be a resounding yes.
He concentrated predominately on songs from his latest album ‘Tangled Up’ and they do tend to stretch the very loose definition of country music to the extreme. However the sheer energy, vocal prowess and Thomas’ engaging charisma more than compensated for the pop influenced tracks such as ‘South Side’ and ‘Vacation’.
On the latter he left the stage for a foray into the audience where he was predictably swamped with selfie hunters!
Highlights were definitely the acoustic ‘Beer With Jesus’ and a superb rendition of his current chart topper ‘Die A Happy Man’, a period in the set where the tempo was slowed down considerably. This was TR at his ‘country’ best, and it exposed why he has become such a force in the genre.
The one disappointment was the omission of ‘The Day You Stop Looking Back’ a particular favourite of ours here at Your Life In A Song! We have been informed however that he will be coming back for more shows later this Autumn when he does a mini UK tour, so hopefully with a longer set, he will have a chance to delve deeper into his repertoire.
The set concluded with ‘Crash and Burn’ a perfect up-beat song that had the audience’s approval and got us all out of our seats.
He had not performed in the UK before and it’s not easy opening a show in a huge arena with a large percentage of the crowd still taking their seats.
The crowd reaction at the end of his 11-track set was hugely impressive and we can’t wait to see him again in the UK later this year.
Make Me Wanna
It Goes Like This
Beer With Jesus
Die A Happy Man
Get Me Some Of That
Crash and Burn