Country stars are starting to regularly include the UK as part of their international touring itinerary and one performer who gets over to this side of the pond frequently is Thomas Rhett. One of the biggest stars in Country music, he made his UK live debut as part of the Main Stage line-up for C2C: Country to Country in 2016. He followed that up with a headline show at Shepherd’s Bush later that year and last November he was back again with his Home Team Tour, which saw him touring round the UK. A year on from that and he was back again to headline the Eventim Apollo in London, his biggest headline show to date.
With fantastic support from Danielle Bradbery and Devin Dawson, Rhett arrived to an already buzzing crowd. He’d appeared on stage briefly earlier in the night when he surprised Bradbery by sneaking up on her to perform his verse during her Goodbye Summer performance. Opening with the Martin Jensen remix of his track Leave Right Now, Rhett made it very clear early on that he was in London to party. As it was a Saturday night, and Country fans are a passionately rowdy bunch, he certainly got the atmosphere amped up to 12 quickly.
Rhett zipped through the first few songs of his set, keeping things uptempo with T-Shirt, Life Changes album track Renegades, 2013 single Get Me Some of That and the very funky Country Gold, a track on the Deluxe Edition of Life Changes. He commented at one point that the audience had sung every single word to every single song, which seemed to take him by surprise. Rhett also proclaimed that it was the best audience he’d ever performed to and that got the crowd even more raucous.
For Make Me Wanna, Rhett mashed the song up with a bit of Justin Timberlake and Jay-Z’s Suit and Tie before launching into Craving You. With Maren Morris obviously not in tow to sing her bit, I felt Rhett missed an opportunity to bring Bradbery back on stage to fill in for her. She would have sung the hell of that song and I have to admit I was a little gutted. Before singing Life Changes, Rhett told the audience about accidentally winding up with two children when his wife fell pregnant as they were finalising an adoption. For the song’s third verse, Rhett pointed the mic out into the crowd and let them sing it, and boy did they sing it loudly.
One of the highlights of the night was I’ll Always Remember You Young, a new song that Rhett has recorded for his upcoming third album. It’s a beautiful Country ballad that’s more traditional than anything we’ve heard from him in a while. The song has the potential to be as big as Die a Happy Man and I really hope it’s a future single. Elsewhere in the set Rhett performed Beer With Jesus after a fan asked him to in the meet and greet prior to the show, he wowed with a fantastic rendition of Marry Me and cranked the party up a notch with Vacation.
For his encore Rhett performed a sing-a-long, lights in the air version of Die a Happy Man. As the song ended Rhett noticed a couple in the audience had just got engaged during the performance so he brought them up on stage and serenaded them. It was a lovely moment embraced by the whole Country family at the Eventim Apollo. For his last track, Rhett went out with a bang, performing Tangled Up single Crash and Burn.
Last night was by far the best live performance I’ve seen from Thomas Rhett. His energy was off the charts, his band was tight and the set list was perfectly sequence. It was a night of celebration and it also showed just how important it is for Country stars to keep coming back to the UK. Rhett has continually scaled up with every visit and he’s not far off being able to move on to arenas here. With a third album on the horizon and plenty of success across the world, it’s not going to be long until he’s back performing live here in the UK again.
Set list: 1. Leave Right Now 2. T-Shirt 3. Renegades 4. Get Me Some of That 5. Country Gold 6. Make Me Wanna/Suit and Tie 7. Craving You 8. Star of the Show 9. Life Changes 10. I’ll Always Remember You Young 11. Beer With Jesus 12. Marry Me 13. It Goes Like This 14. Sixteen 15. Unforgettable 16. Vacation 17. Die a Happy Man 18. Crash and Burn Performance date: 17th November 2018 Buy Life Changes