Nashville in Concert

I think I always loved country music (the seeds were probably sown with the early 90s line dance craze), but the catalyst was the TV series 'Nashville'. When it first aired in the UK a couple of years ago, I got completely hooked on the gorgeous music as well as the on-screen drama, and the soundtrack albums are pretty much on repeat in my house constantly. So when I found out that some of my favourite cast members were going to come over to the UK, I snapped up tickets as fast I could! The show finally rolled around on Saturday night and so I headed off to Hammersmith brimming with excitement.

After waiting around for about half an hour, eventually we were let in so I grabbed a drink, bought myself a Highway 65 T-shirt and settled in for the show. Unfortunately as it had been so popular (I think they sold out pretty much every night and had to add extra dates), I was only able to get a ticket for the standing section at the back, but the view was surprisingly OK:

(Also, isn't the Apollo just the most gorgeous building? I couldn't resist a few snaps of the beautiful Art Deco interior!)

The show gave each member a chance to shine early on, rotating through the four of them doing solo performances and then doing a duet as they switched over. There was a real celebratory mood throughout as the tour came just after the announcement that, following the show's cancellation by ABC in the US, it has been picked up for CMT and Hulu for season five, and all the cast took time during their sets to thank the crowd for their support in keeping the show on the air.

Chris Carmack (AKA Will Lexington) kicked things off with 'What If I Was Willing', which got everyone in the audience singing along and showcased the strength of his voice. He also got the chance to show off his talents beyond vocals, including breaking out a variety of instruments - including electric guitar as well as saxophone to accompany Clare Bowen (Scarlett O'Connor) on the spine-tingling 'Premonition'. My favourite performance of his though was his duet with Sam Palladio (Gunnar Scott) on 'If It's Love', one of my favourite Will songs. Their voices sound great together and I really hope we're going to have more from the two of them in seasons four and five.

Gunnar is my favourite 'Nashville' character and Sam was the person I'd been most excited to see live - and he definitely didn't disappoint. His performance of 'Can't Get It Right' was brilliant, and he gave us a sneak peek of season four with his emotional rendition of 'Count On Me', a song Gunnar writes for Scarlett. Sam and Clare also gave a beautiful performance of 'Fade Into You'; that being their only duet of the night was the one slight disappointment I had with the whole show, mainly as I wished there was more! However Clare's gorgeous solo version of 'When The Right One Comes Along' more than made up for it.

The big surprise of the evening for me was Charles Esten (Deacon Claybourne). I'd enjoyed his acoustic set at C2C earlier this year, and he built on that with his passionate and heartfelt performances of 'I Know How To Love You Now' and 'So I Cry', both of which got a great reception from the audience. The highlight of his set for me though was him snarling his way through 'He Ain't Me', a stomping piano-driven number that included bits of Chuck Berry's classic 'Johnny B. Goode' and ended with Charles and his cherry-red guitar leaping off the drum kit. The definition of 'a little bit country, a little bit rock 'n' roll'.

I really liked the mixture of songs from the show as well as the cast members' original music; it showed a different side to them but also gave the fans what they wanted. Particular highlights for me were Sam sharing the story of his granddad missing the train stop to see his American girlfriend for the last time before he went back to the UK to fight in World War II, which inspired his song 'Wake Me Up In Nashville', and Clare speaking so movingly about her brother's battle with cancer before she sang 'Love Steps In' (not ashamed to admit that I cried in that one). Both Sam and Clare also announced they'll have solo albums coming out later this year which I am very excited about!

The show wrapped up with all four cast members coming together to sing 'One More Song (And Then We're Gone)' and 'A Life That's Good', the latter of which included an audience singalong. It was an absolutely spine-tingling moment and, at the risk of sounding cheesy, you could really feel the love in the room - both from the fans and the cast members. It was an absolutely magical moment and one that will say with me for a long time.

Overall I loved, loved, loved Nashville in Concert. All the cast members got to showcase their (many) talents together and separately, leaving me in awe of their vocal chops, musicianship and stage presence. It was great to see them perform their own songs alongside the hits too; 'Nashville' has always cast people who are just as good singers as they are actors, and on Saturday night it showed. I left the theatre absolutely buzzing and crossing everything they come back soon. Now bring on season four!

Are you a 'Nashville' fan? Did you go to the tour last week? And what's your favourite song from the show?

1 comment:

  1. That looked like a great show! Come on out to Nashville, Tennessee for the real thing. Cool blog.