REVIEW: Maddie and Tae – Live At Manchester Academy2

file_000-5It’s amazing what a 40-minute set at C2C can do for an artist isn’t it? Still with only one album released to date, and one chart-topping single, the announcement of Maddie and Tae’s UK tour earlier this year had a phenomenal reaction. Sold out shows and upgraded venues galore. There’s a real buzz about the girls in the UK at the moment and anybody that attended the Manchester show last Saturday will have experienced the unbelievable reception they received. We were treated to a 75-minute set packed full of fan favourites and gorgeous covers, as well as a few newbies along the way.

Una Healy kicked off the show with a 30-minute showcase of the material from her upcoming solo album ‘The Waiting Game’. Knowing her background with The Saturdays, I was intrigued to find out how her music would connect with an audience of country fans. In truth, I was expecting more Saturdays-style material but thankfully, much of her solo material is very country and the crowd seemed to embrace her. I’m looking forward to hearing the new album; there were some very catchy tracks thrown in as well as some slower, more lyrically-driven songs that allowed her voice and impressive song writing to shine.

Maddie and Tae took to the stage welcomed by rapturous applause, kicking off proceedings with fan favourite and sing-a-long anthem ‘Shut Up And Fish’. There was a real party atmosphere right from the beginning and the audience knew every single word. I lost count of how many times Maddie called us “wonderful”! They seemed genuinely blown away by the response. They powered through much of the debut album with tracks such as my personal favourite ‘No Place Like You’, ‘Right Here, Right Now’ and ‘Waitin’ On A Plane’ before throwing in the first of five covers, Jana Kramer’s ‘Boomerang’. This one really got the crowd going; so powerful and full of energy.

The highlights of the show were Maddie and Tae’s new songs, some of which they had never performed previously. The stand-out was a track called ‘Water In His Wineglass’, a stunning stripped-back tear-jerker about someone passing away with an alcohol addiction. I couldn’t hold back the emotion, and it was visibly a difficult one for the girls to get through. Words can’t describe what a stunningly beautiful song it is. ‘Mirror, Mirror’ was a return to the radio-friendly side of Maddie and Tae, and this is a #1 hit in the making. You know it’s a great song when you’re singing along by the second chorus. Watch out for it.

The only disappointment was the omission of ‘After The Storm Blows Through’, which wasn’t in their C2C set list either. I’d love to hear them perform it live but hey, they can’t keep everybody happy! They performed every other track on the album, including the most recent single ‘Sierra’ which certainly resonates with their audience. Describing the track, Maddie only had to get as far as “it’s about a girl” before the crowd started applauding. I must mention the band too. The quality of the musicianship was incredible from start to finish and they truly brought the songs we all know and love to life.

The girls included two Dixie Chicks covers in the set list, the first of which being ‘Landslide’ which seems to have become a regular feature in country concerts nowadays (Lady A seemed to have adopted it). ‘Cowboy Take Me Away’ followed another new track ‘Just Fine’ in a 2-song encore to complete what was a superb evening.

You have to admire these girls. The standard of their song writing is utterly faultless and they have the ability to take things up another notch when you see them performing live. They certainly know how to put on a show, and I think it’s pretty safe to say they’ll be returning to the UK very soon.

If you missed our interview with Maddie and Tae, you can listen below: