There are two sides to this Manchester crowd, of course there's the side we'd like to remember that were so loud they amazed Chris and the side that was so loud I couldn't hear Lindsay Ell over their conversations! This is the first time a crowd has irritated me this much that I include it in a review but it needs stating that something needs to be done, if you come in in time for a support act, finish your conversations in time for the support act! I was there six years ago when Lindsay made the first trip across the pond to support The Band Perry and I remember being stood in awe of her incredible guitar skills then and she still continues to amaze me as she goes from strength to strength. At the time I remember over-hearing a guy say "she was a little too fanciful on that guitar for me." Luckily for us she's still fanciful on that guitar although I do think she's found a way of incorporating her skills into a more mainstream sound which has lead to the chart success she deserves. Talking of chart success she included Waiting On You and ended on Criminal, her two biggest singles to date. The remainder of the crowd who bothered to listen were singing along and did a decent job of drowning out the few obnoxious people in the room. I've always loved Lindsay's energy and passion for the job she does (something that shone through when I interviewed her at C2C last year) and she demonstrated that last night along with her professionalism as it wasn't all plain sailing, the sound engineers had a couple of hiccups in her set which Lindsay did her best to overcome and perform through. I can't wait to see Lindsay return to the UK time and time again and as the word gets out, just what an excellent guitarist and songwriter she is, I anticipate she'll go higher up the bill and the venues will undoubtedly get larger!
Chris Young walked out and the crowd went wild, hands went up in the air and the band got straight into Hangin On. Most were singing along now as Chris grinned in between every line. It was clear that the crowd was now a passionate party crowd ready for a real good time and a good sing song. He followed on with another hit single, his first number 1 song in fact, Getting You Home. One thing I liked in particular (but he apologised for) was that he told the story between every song. He had a reason for choosing each one to play that night and he told us the set was very different from what he plays at shows in America. His bassist got a little confused and began playing the wrong song at one point so that was his excuse. One of my favourite Chris Young songs came early on in the night, Lonely Eyes, the very nature of the anthemic chorus meant that most were singing it loud and clear. He then came back to his last album for Losing Sleep another popular one with the audience.
He had a little joke with the crowd during I Can Take It From There, about whether or not they knew Conway Twitty and if they didn't to go buy his record before they bought anything from his merch stall. He also squeezed in a Keith Whiteley cover, Don't Close Your Eyes which was beautiful, his vocals suit that song so well. The party really started when he played his latest single Raised on Country. Naturally people raised their beers in the air for the hook line. Chris like Lindsay seemed to do his fair share of strutting up and down the stage, he thanked the crowd a number of times not just for being there that night but for supporting him throughout his career and allowing him to travel like this. He performed the first single that went multi-platinum I'm Coming Over which he co-wrote with Josh Home and Corey Crowder. I liked that at certain times not only did he credit his band and tech guys, he mentioned the writers he'd worked with and applauded them.
Speaking of his band he invited Seth to sing a snippet of the Prince song Kiss which took the audience by surprise! I was delighted to hear Think Of You but really thought he missed a trick doing it alone, why didn't he ask Lindsay to join him on Cassadee's parts? This was another song that saw the whole crowd sing which is when Chris commented that he wasn't sure how any crowd could top this during the coming week. He spoke of what an honour it was to open for Garth Brooks just a few days before and slipped in a Garth Brooks song which again was fine by the Manchester crowd and once again his vocals were just perfect for the song, Papa Loved Mama. He ended the night with Tomorrow, the couples around me towards the back started to dance. I'd usually say it was sweet but I think they were just drunk but having a good time nonetheless! Of course it wasn't the end though as he came back out to chants of "We want more." The party atmosphere continued as he ended on what he described as his Tequila love song Aw Naw, my favourite song of his, the dancing turned to bouncing up and down. Chris did a fantastic job of pleasing the crowd. His performance was full of energy as he played hit after hit!