Well what started out as a bad night at the Albert Hall on Thursday due to the staff at the venue being unreasonable about bags and cameras - having one rule for one and a different rule for another, Seth Ennis and Little Big Town really saved the night and in fact Little Big Town was the best I’ve ever seen them! The Grammy award winning Country act have been performing together and making music for 18 years now and have countless top ten singles including number 1’s Pontoon, Girl Crush and Better Man. They are members of the Grand Ole Opry and now have a residency at The Ryman Auditorium. After performing twice at the Country 2 Country Festival Little Big Town have become a favourite amongst country fans here in the UK so as you can imagine their recent tour was very popular and with good reason, this is one band who are great on their CD but even better live!
The night began with Seth Ennis who has recently rose to fame with his single Woke Up In Nashville however he is still very much an emerging artist in the States but many of the Manchester crowd were singing along to nearly every word of every song he sung! Right from the off he had the crowd participating in some oohs which is always good when a support can engage the crowd like that. Halfway through his set the band left and he talked about being a songwriter and went on to play Three which he co-wrote and was released on Lauren Alaina’s Road Less Travelled Album. He then sang a medley of some of his favourite Country songs by other artists which was really good and the crowd really enjoyed it. He closed the show with his most well known song Woke Up In Nashville which the crowd loved and the majority of them were singing along.
Then it was time for the main event and Little Big Town emerged and kicked off their show with Night On Our Side from their latest album The breaker and it became obvious instantly that it was going to be a high energy show! Happy People followed also off their 2017 album and trust me there were a lot of happy people in that crowd. One of my favourite songs followed, Pontoon which was written by Barry Dean, Natalie Hemby and Luke Laird. Already the band was grinning and having a good time. It must have been hot on the stage as Jimi kept wiping his brow. The band went right back to one of their earlier records and played a fan favourite Little White Church which of course had the whole crowd singing along. Tumble and Fall one of my favourites off the Painkiller album saw Sweet and Westbrook take the lead vocals, it feels like there’s so much going on in this song and I think Karen Fairchild and Kimberly Schlapman who co-wrote the song with The Love Junkies (Lori McKenna, Liz Rose, Hillary Lindsey) have a hard job to do on the backing vocals in the chorus.
The band talked about the next song Better Man which is soon to be released as a single over here in the UK of course it went to number 1 in the States not too long ago and it was written by Taylor Swift. Karen takes the lead on this song and her vocals were strong especially when she hit that note at the end of the verse. Day Drinking is another one of my favourite songs off their album painkiller which is actually my favourite album of theirs, again it’s co-written by Barry Dean, Troy Verges and the band minus Kimberly Schlapman. The band raised their cups and the audience lifted theirs in return. They all spoke at different intervals throughout the night and it was nice of them to address the Manchester crowd and acknowledge the events of the last few months as Kimberly Schlapman said lets do what music is supposed to do tonight and bring us all together.
More often than not Karen Fairchild takes the lead vocals so it was nice that the band decided to play Sober a song off their album Tornado in which Kimberly Schlapman takes the lead. The band were surprised at the end of the song that the crowd knew all the words. They spoke of how that was the first song The Love Junkies wrote together and how they went on to write Girl Crush. The four of them came closer together and spoke of how Don Williams was such a legendary artist in Country music and began to pay tribute to him. They then went on to cover Fallin’ by Alicia Keys and I preferred their version to the original! Beat Up Bible followed, a beautiful ballad off their most recent album. Then the band performed a cover of Wonderwall which of course pleased the Manchester crowd. One of the highlights of the set was their latest single When Someone Stops Loving You which is a really beautiful and kind of sad song which Jimi Westbrook sang perfectly live. This was followed by the more high energy, upbeat song Tornado which became my Dad’s favourite song of the night. The fans/wind machines really added to the visual effect of this song and probably helped the band to keep on performing as they were throwing themselves into each and every song and you could tell they must have been hot and exhausted by the end of it!
Stay All night unnerved the crowd a bit as it was clear they were drawing to a close soon but the song itself was enjoyed by all. I thought Kimberly Schlapman did a fantastic job of Save Your Sin her vocals were astounding and she really belted it out! This was followed by the history-making Girl Crush which the band had already mentioned earlier in the night, the Grammy award winning song is even better when witnessed live and the vocals of all four members, those harmonies were just a lovely way to finish off the night. But the manchester crowd were deafeningly loud as the band took their bows and said goodbye and before long they returned to play a two song encore which began with Turn The Lights On and concluded with one of the bands most well known songs and their first top ten single Boondocks which the crowd went wild for. Little Big Town seemed genuinely grateful and surprised by the audiences reaction as they mouthed thank you with wide eyes and big grins on their faces!
They’re still in the UK and you still have chance to catch them at The Sage Gateshead and at The Royal Albert Hall next week and I suggest if you haven’t already, you go and get tickets!