What a truly fantastic day 2 at C2C, from 10am until 11pm it was none stop quality Country music! My day began catching up with the mysterious Noah Schnacky who was very excited to be playing in London. Then I headed over to catch Sam Palladio at the BBC Radio 2 stage! What a show he put on, opening with Hello Heartbreak Blues (which has been stuck in my head ever since!) he went on to play songs from the TV show Nashville including Going Electric. I really liked Ghost which he said he wrote with Biffy Clyro and of course my favourite of his Wake Me Up In Nashville which he ended on. Then it was time to see what Noah had to offer in a live setting and he really made all the girls fall in love with him as he sat on the edge of the stage singing a love song before handing out a rose to one lucky girl! He also did an excellent cover of Old Dominion's Break Up With Him. I headed off to catch Adam Hambrick a talented songwriter behind such hits as Dan and Shay's How Not To but he has a lovely voice and is a fantastic artist in his own right. Lainey Wilson followed and despite only being in a small room above All Bar One with no proper stage lighting it was like she was playing to an arena her stage presence was phenomenal. I stuck around to catch Abby Anderson again after she nailed it on the spotlight stage the night before. She got emotional as she talked about being in London and people knowing her music and as well as playing the tracks off the EP she played the unreleased song With The Radio On which she said got her her record deal and a brand new song. Her vocals are incredible, the place was at capacity and the crowd loved her endearing personality.
After chatting in the press room to Hunter Hayes, Dustin Lynch and Lady Antebellum I headed into the arena for the main event! Carly Pearce was first up, she surprised me opening with Careless but it was a good choice as she paced the stage and got everyone on board from the start. When first listening to her record I didn't like Everybody Gonna Talk but I warmed to it live. She did a flawless cover of Feel Like a Woman which really got the crowd going! After Closer To You she brought the band in a little closer and talked about her upbringing and asked if she could play some bluegrass music which she mashed together with a cover of the Dixie Chicks Sin Wagon which as a massive Dixie Chicks fan, I thought was great. I shed a tear in If My Name Was Whisky my favourite song of hers co-written by the great Shane McAnally. I had a hamster called Whisky and I used to play this song to him as you do! She concluded with her two biggest hits Every Little Thing, which had the majority of the crowd singing with their phone lights in the air and Hide The Wine.
Fairground Saints took over on the Spotlight stage introduced by The Wandering Hearts. It was my first time seeing them live and I really enjoyed their harmonies and the song Somewhere Down The Line. Dustin Lynch followed, I was excited to see what he had to offer and boy was I blown away! I don't know what I was expecting but I didn't expect that much energy or that much reaction from the crowd. He really got the party started with Hell of a Night. With his cowboy hat on his head (apparently he has a room at home just for his hats!) He bounded across the stage as he played singles I'd Be Jealous Too and Mind Reader. He said how he kicked off the year well with a number one on the Country Airplay chart with his song Good Girl. At this point much of the crowd were on their feet singing along. I was very impressed by his cover of Someone Like You by Adele, I thought it was an unusual song choice but actually his version was great! This transitioned nicely into Cowboys and Angels which he said was about his grandparents love as they've been together 64 years now. If anyone was feeling left out of this Country party that had kicked off they were soon invited as Dustin played a cover of Garth Brooks Friend's in Low Places. The beers were in the air, He couldn't have picked a better cover to get a reaction like that. He concluded with Seein Red and Small Town Boy both number 1's on the Country airplay charts. I feel like Dustin and Hunter were the wrong way round in the line up.
Then it was time for a little UK talent as Catherine McGrath played on the spotlight stage, it was nice to see her so happy to be on that stage and little did we know at that point that she'd become the first UK artist to perform on the main stage at C2C as during Hunter Hayes set he invited her up to perform Don't Let Me Forget. Speaking of Hunter there were mixed reactions from the crowd, I personally thought that was the best I'd seen him, his guitar skills are mesmerising to watch but he didn't engage with the audience quite as much as Dustin did though. I really liked Light Me Up and he showed off his playing abilities at the end of that song. The highlight of his set for me was when he played invisible, you could feel the emotion and despite apologising at the start as he felt he was losing his voice his vocals were still quite powerful. He also sung a snippet of Amazing Grace and despite having to cut his set a little short he still had time to play the chart topping Wasted.
Carly Pearce's fiancé then took to the spotlight stage, Michael Ray. He played a song that some of us heard at the songwriters series on Thursday, Her World or Mine which was written by Travis Denning. Now time for the main event Lady Antebellum who keep coming back to the UK as it's their favourite place to play in the World (it's true, they told us in the press conference!) took to the stage with Run To You one of the first songs I heard of theirs. The atmosphere was electric where i was stood as they went into Bartender, drinks were in the air, people were dancing their socks off and some just stood in awe. Kiss Goodnight took the energy levels down a little bit as people swapped the beer in the air for their phone lights in the air instead. After the cleverly written Heart Break they went all the way back to 2010 for American Honey. They included two brand new songs in their set, I love it when artists do that, the first was co-written with British writer John Green, the second came later on in the set when they stripped it down a bit, that was a beautiful song called Be Patient With My Love and the crowd was quiet, captivated in this special moment. Charles took some time to jump off stage and walk through the crowd as they did a cover of suspicious minds.
The party continued as they played Our Kind of Love, Charles and Hilary interacted well with each other throughout, well so did Dave but it was slightly harder for him as he was always playing something wether it was guitar, piano or mandolin. A highlight was when they did the 5 minute long Hello World, a song they rarely do when touring America but it goes over well with the crowd here in the UK and even though I've heard them do it live before it felt like a revelation. When You Got A Good Thing was in their stripped down set and once they'd got all the band back on stage they also brought on Carly Pearce and Hunter Hayes for a cover of Slow Hands. You could feel it building to a big finale as they sang You Look Good, a crowd favourite followed by Downtown (a song initially written for Miranda Lambert). They took their first bows but you knew it wasn't the end, the crowd was deafeningly loud with their applause so they didn't keep us waiting long. Time for a six minute long version of their smash, cross-over hit Need You Now, even some of the stewards were singing along to this one and Hilary, Dave and Charles asked us to take a chorus on our own, the O2 was in full voice (rather tuneful as well actually) as they belted it out. They finished on a song which summed up their performance Own The Night! That was one of the best headline sets I've seen in the six years that I've been coming to C2C. Good job Lady Antebellum, good job C2C! See you again tomorrow!