Lady Antebellum have had a long-standing love affair with the UK. One of the first Country acts to properly break into the mainstream charts here, the trio – Hillary Scott, Charles Kelley and Dave Haywood – have always included the UK on their tour itinerary. The band was last here in late 2017 in support of their latest album Heart Break and since then they’ve signed to Big Machine Records and they’ve been working on new music. Last night they headlined C2C: Country to Country for the second time.
I’ll admit that even though I’m a Lady Antebellum fan, they weren’t high on my list of acts I was desperate to see this year. The reason for that is that having seen them on the Heart Break tour, I wondered what else they could do having not had any new music since then. Turns out I should have known better, as Lady Antebellum were on top form and they dug deep through their catalogue to cherry pick the hits and some fan favourites. They also squeezed in two tracks from their upcoming new album.
Opening with I Run to You, Lady Antebellum began a relentless run of smash hits in their set. The vocals were on point, the band was tight and in some ways the band seem the most energised I’ve seen them in a while. Bartender cranked the tempo up a notch before the sweeping Just a Kiss had me singing my heart out. I hadn’t realised how much I’d missed seeing them live until that point and from there I, and the rest of The O2 Arena, was in the palm of their hands.
One of things that’s always great about Lady Antebellum is that they know which songs their fans want to hear. Even more than that, they manage to put fresh energy into songs they’ve sung hundreds, if not thousands, of time. American Honey felt exciting and engaged, Lookin’ For a Good Time created a party vibe and led into Elvis Presley’s Suspicious Minds while Charles worked his way through the audience, and You Look Good sounded better than it ever has before. New track Never Get Over You sounded like a classic from the band and fit nicely into the set. Before they started it Charles joked that if the audience hated it, it would never be heard anywhere ever again.
Over the course of their set the band stripped things down for an acoustic medley of When You Got a Good Thing, Dancin’ Away With My Heart and Wanted You More. They also previewed the second of two new songs, Be Patient With My Love, which Charles took lead vocal on. The song was moving, emotive and a little deeper than we’ve heard from Lady Antebellum before. Charle’s vocal had a real grit to it and he sounded stunning.
A highlight of the night was an unexpected cover of Niall Horan’s Slow Hands, which saw Lady Antebellum joined by Carly Pearce and Hunter Hayes. That song works really well as a Country song and it was well received by the audience.
For the encore, Lady Antebellum sang Need You Now with a little help from the audience (of course) before ending with We Owned the Night. It was the perfect end to a perfect set and I don’t think fans could have asked for anything more.
Lady Antebellum cemented their position as one of Country music’s finest live acts. The harmonies were tighter than ever, Charles and Hillary killed their lead vocals, and Dave (who Hillary described as the glue of the band) sweated his backside off switching between instruments and singing his heart out throughout the night. The hits were all their last night and the new music is sounding really, really promising. Could Lady Antebellum be one of the best performances of the C2C weekend? I think so!
Set list: 1. I Run to You 2. Bartender 3. Just a Kiss 4. Heart Break 5. Compass 6. American Honey 7. Never Get Over You 8. Lookin’ For a Good Time / Suspicious Minds 9. Our Kind of Love 10. Hello World 11. When You Got a Good Thing / Dancin’ Away With My Heart / Wanted You More 12. Be Patient With My Love 13. Slow Hands (Niall Horan cover with Carly Pearce and Hunter Hayes) 14. You Look Good 15. Downtown 16. Love Don’t Live Here Anymore 17. Need You Now 18. We Owned the Night Performance date: Saturday 9th March 2019