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|C2C-CountrytoCountry-2014 : 1-20 | 21-40 | 41-60 | 61-80 | 81-88|
2015 London, Dublin, Oslo and Stockholm 2015
Country to Country 2014
"When I get home I'm telling all my friends – Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert – everyone – that we have a new home for country music and it's right here in London."
Arriving at the O2 Arena, no doubt that the 2-nights extravaganza Country 2 Country Festival is there! The fans walk from the metro station to the entrance, wearing T-shirts of their favorite stars and already taking pictures with their smartphones. The huge ceiling banner in the entrance show the first step of what will be the line-up of this incredible and unique event in Europe. As in 2013, pop-up stages welcome many UK, Scottish and a few European country bands.
Martina McBride is the first act to perform on the saturday, and offers a set list of her hits, and some songs from "Everlasting" her new album due april 8. The anthem "Independence day" has always a strong impact and the crowd quickly reacts with a standing ovation. Martina McBride is still a headliner and her career represents of one the best in the music genre for all the public of the O2. Don't forget that her luggage being lost, Martina McBride had to perform in the same clothes from the flight to the CMA Songwriters Series the night before. ...
I follow Dierks Bentley from the beginning of his career, met him several times including my first interview of the star during the "New From Nashville" series from the CMA Nashville in London many years ago. Dierks Bentley is definitely a strong performer, very energic on stage with the ability to combine country, rock and bluegrass, and to cover Bon Jovi! Open-minded, no doubt, and I am convinced that's a very good way to attract young listeners. During the show, he did a cover of the English band Pink Floyd's "Wish you were here". Dierks Bentley is an entertainer and after spotting a girl in the crowd singing, he invited her on stage, give her his guitar and told her to sing without him. Dierks Bentley sat on the drum sipping a beer! During the show, he performed some cuts from his new album "Riser". A highlight of his show came when he said to the public: "When I get home, I will tell all my friends - Jason Aldean, Miranda Lambert, everyone - that we have a new home for country music and it's right here in London.". And in the same time, the wide video screen at the back of the stage showed a flag which combined US & U.K.!!! Earlier on the day, medias were invited to watch the documentary "Riser" which is the making-off of the album; a 45 minutes film which describes Dierks Bentley during a difficult period of his life. Fifty fans had also the chance to be part of the screening.
The Dixie Chicks
Next on stage is a band who created his own sound in country music, and a really great mood in that style. The Dixie Chicks are very known in despite of a huge break due to a declaration in London many years ago. Lead singer Natalie Maines had recently a solo album, and the sisters Emily Robison and Marty McGuire formed duo the Court Yard Hounds releasing a couple of albums. They began with "Taking the long way", and their set list, including great songs like "Goodbye Earl" and "Sin wagon", was so much appreciated by the public who sang along. On the media side, the Dixie Chicks did not held their press conference, and the last strange point concerns the curious haircut and shaved sides of Natalie Maines.
The Zac Brown Band
The headliner of the saturday is the Zac Brown Band, who have already visited twice the U.K. and bring some traditional country. I remember when their hit "Chicken fried" entered the Billboard Country Single charts at a very respectable place. The fact was huge and a great surprise for all! Here at C2C 2014, Zac Brown band offers that song and "Free" among others. They have no fear to enter in the rock scene, because they are top musicians. Remember them playing at LP Field during CMA Music Festival in Nashville and giving us an incredible version of Charlie Daniels's "The devil went down to Georgia". And so, "Enter sandman" was on their setlist. Fiddle is a trademark for Zac Brown Band and classic country fans, and the band had the good idea to choose the final part of the show to play tracks from their last album "The Grohl sessions" produced by Dave Grohl from the Foo Fighters. Guitars riffs had the effect to extend the songs, a practice more dedicated to the rock audience. Finally, the encore was visual and sounding with the hit "Uncaged" and the band returning on stage wearing skeletons outfits which shines in the dark. And have to say that the lights system was awesome during the Zac Brown Band show.
Sunday is there and the first headliner, Chris Young, started with "A.M." and no doubt that his reputation has made, in part, his name in the female fans. Chris Young is fun, natural and very closed to his fans and that appears when he performs on stage, and in particular tonight at the O2 London in front of 20.000 fans, the venue being sold-out. "Voices", "Who I am with you" and a brillant cover of ZZ Top's "Sharp dressed man" are played during his show.
The Band Perry
The Band Perry played in Paris, France, in november 2013, and their performance in front of the sold-out show was awesome. Perfect sound and talking to the public including many young fans. Here at the O2, sound is pure, clear and powerful in regards of the Arena. They are a force of nature, in particular Kimberly Perry who moves all time and sings with a strong presence. Many hits during their set, including "Better dig two", "I'm a keeper", "Pioneer". They are in the mainstream country, but the sound of the fiddle was clearly identified in the venue, and it's important to say that the traditional instruments are well present since C2C inception in 2013. Everyone will remember Neil Perry waved the Union Jack flag, while their fiddler Jason Fitz playing the God Save The Queen, and The Band Perry has a huge sense of choregraphy in relation with their musical tastes, from Queen to Led Zeppelin.
The trio is hugely known in America and they have already toured in the U.K.. Gary LeVox offers a powerful voice with a constant quality in high notes. He talks with the public and the band moves so much on stage that this kind of entertainment is definitely made for young listeners, but not only, because the lyrics touches the life of everyone. The crowd knows each word of the songs, and their classic hits "Fast cars and freedom", "Bless the broken road", "What hurts the most", "Life is a highway" and "Rewind" have made their part of the show, reflecting one of the most impressive career from a Nashville contemporary country band. And they know that their fans do enjoy videos on the screen.
Brad Paisley and Rascal Flatts are very close friends and so the headliner of the C2C 2014 has had the opportunity to use also, and in large and full scale for him, all the high technology that the O2 privodes in video production. Spectacular display of animated and video documents , including a Star Wars/Star Treck awesome sequence to enhance his show. Brad Paisley is very known for being a virtuose in playing guitar, and hits after hits, talks & humour, the fans were totally involved in his performance. Starting with "Southern comfort zone", then "Outstanding in our field" which saw the return of Chris Young on stage for a duet, "Then", "Old Alabama" with a change in lyrics to "Hot English mess", "Online", "Mud on the tires", "I'm still a guy", "I'm gonna miss her" which was associated to a spendid work in video. Then Kimberly Perry joined Brad Paisley to sing the parts of Alison Krauss on "Whiskey lulluby". The end of this more than perfect show offered "Water", "Mona Lisa" and "Alcohol". At one moment, he exits the stage and run on the walkaway of the crowd to take place on a mini stage at the back of the venue. The result was a few acoustic songs played with a guitar, and so, a very intimate performance where the fans feels so close to the artist. We know that Brad Paisley loves that kind of situation. Another great moment was when he took the phone of a fan to film himself and do a selfie, and returned it. As that was not an iPhone, Brad said not to be sure how it works!!! Brad Paisley is an impressive strong performer, an entertainer in the full sense of the word, and humour is another very important part of him, so natural, and do not hesitate to see him again when he will return.
Review by Jean Agostini (Mr)