Tim McGraw headlined one the of the nights at the first-ever C2C: Country to Country back in 2013. The much-loved Country star had amazingly never made it to the UK before so he drew a packed crowd. Anticipation was high that he would start to include the UK on his tour itinerary but sadly that hasn’t happened as of yet. This year he finally returned to UK shores to once again headline C2C but this time he brought fellow Country music superstar Faith Hill, who of course is his wife. The two have toured their Soul2Soul show before but this is the first time they’ve brought it to the UK, which is quite a coup for C2C.
In support of their first collaborative album The Rest of Our Life, Hill and McGraw arrived on stage to very high expectations as they headlined the first day of this year’s festival. The couple kicked off their packed two-hour set with a cover of Aretha Franklin and George Michael’s I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me), drawing huge cheers from the arena crowd. They then wasted no time diving into their extensive catalogues starting with Felt Good on My Lips from McGraw’s 2012 album Emotional Traffic. For the first few songs the lead vocal was determined by which of the stars recorded the song but both McGraw and Hill stayed onstage offering backing vocals.
The first of the songs they performed from their recent album The Rest of Our Life was the powerful Break First, one of the albums best moments. It also proved to be one of the night’s highlights and there’s something so magical about watching McGraw and Hill performing together. Their chemistry is off the charts as they trade glances, interact with one another and at times look at each other as if there’s no one else in the room. If there’s a better example of relationship goals, I’ve never seen it.
Following an uptempo moment with Telluride, McGraw left the stage so that Hill could kick off the solo section of the set list. Starting with Free from her 2002 album Cry, Hill worked the stage with so much energy and enthusiasm, I felt exhausted just watching. She allows her body to feel every beat of the music and she was quite mesmerising to watch. When she performed This Kiss she became visibly choked up as the audience sang to every word, providing one of the night’s most special moments. A stunning rendition of Breathe followed by Hill’s first ever single Wild One, one of a handful of songs that saw her showing off her guitar skills too. After the gospel-tinged Stronger and a powerhouse performance of Janis Joplin’s Piece of My Heart, Hill reunited with McGraw for Angry All the Time.
It was then time for McGraw to do his solo set with One of Those Nights from his 2013 album Two Lanes of Freedom. With a confident charisma, McGraw covered the stage as he performed selections from his career but it wasn’t until Humble and Kind that the audience really began to go wild. An impromptu singalong happened at the end of the song and McGraw, like Hill earlier, looked a bit overwhelmed by the reception he was getting. Live Like You Were Dying got a similarly huge reaction and it marked the end of the McGraw’s solo section.
The couple came together once again for the beautiful, and timely, Speak to a Girl and their 1997 hit It’s Your Love. Once they performed those songs, the two bid farewell but of course we all knew they’d be back for an encore. What no one was expecting was for the stars to perform a solo track each while walking through the arena audience. Hill took the floor area as she performed Mississippi Girl and McGraw followed walking down the Level 1 steps and onto the floor while singing Something Like That.
For their final song, McGraw and Hill performed 2007 single I Need You and they recreated the video on stage by sitting opposite one another and sharing a microphone. It was the perfect way to end the night and the performance was absolutely stunning.
The only criticism I can share, and this isn’t really anything to do with them, is that the sound was pretty poor for the first half of the set particularly during Hill’s vocals. She has such an incredibly powerful voice and the sound quality really didn’t do her justice, which was a real shame.
Regardless of the sound issues McGraw and Hill lived up to expectations last night. Their energy, enthusiasm and passion was inspiring. They were warm and funny on stage, with McGraw even daring to make a political joke by referring to everything being ‘fake news’, which got a huge cheer from the audience. There’s a reason why McGraw and Hill are two of the biggest stars in Country music and last night it was a real treat to witness their first Soul2Soul show outside of the US.
Set list: 1. I Knew You Were Waiting (For Me) (Aretha Franklin & George Michael cover) 2. Felt Good on My Lips 3. The Lucky One 4. I Like It, I Love It 5. The Way You Love Me (Faith Hill) 6. Like We Never Loved at All 7. Break First 8. Telluride 9. Free (Faith Hill) 10. This Kiss (Faith Hill) 11. Breathe (Faith Hill) 12. Wild One (Faith Hill) 13. Stronger (Faith Hill) 14. Piece of My Heart (Faith Hill) 15. Angry All the Time 16. One of Those Nights (Tim McGraw) 17. Real Good Man (Tim McGraw) 18. Shotgun Rider (Tim McGraw) 19. Humble and Kind (Tim McGraw) 20. Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw) 21. Speak to a Girl 22. It’s Your Love 23. Mississippi Girl (Faith Hill) 24. Something Like That (Tim McGraw) 25. I Need You Performance date: Friday 9th March 2018