Jason Aldean is one of the most successful recording artists in any genre over the last decade. He’s been the leading male country artist in the US for the majority of that time and he’s stacked up plenty of awards, acclaim and sales over that time. Amazingly despite his huge success, Jason has never toured in the UK and yesterday he made his live debut at The O2 Arena in London for C2C: Country To Country. He took to the stage ahead of Day 2’s headliners Lady Antebellum but was his live performance worth the wait?
Aldean has only recently released his new album Old Boots, New Dirt here in the UK along with his entire back catalogue. It’s safe to say it hasn’t been the easiest trying to get your hands on his material but that didn’t stop yesterday’s C2C crowd from knowing every single word to every single song. Arriving on stage to plenty of pyrotechnics, Aldean kicked off his set with debut single Hicktown. The volume was cranked up so loud (we’re blaming Brantley Gilbert’s set prior to Aldean’s) that the beat of the music pounded in our ears making it hard to hear.
The sound levels varied through the set but Aldean and his band didn’t really seem to notice. They wheeled out all of his biggest hits including Big Green Tractor, Crazy Town, My Kinda Party and Night Train. The crowd responded well to the material and Aldean admitted between songs that he’s going to try and come over to the UK more frequently as long as there is the demand from the fans. Judging by all the screaming we’d say there’s definitely demand.
Burnin’ It Down, Aldean’s recent single from Old Boots, New Dirt was one of the standout moments giving a more contemporary twist to his sound. Dirt Road Anthem was another highlight and saw Aldean switching between singing and rapping surprising us with just how good a flow he has.
The set came to a close with She’s Country, perhaps Aldean’s signtature hit and definitely a fan favourite. It was a fitting end to Aldean’s debut UK performance and you could see he was happy with the response he received from the audience.
Aldean’s set was enjoyable but like Florida Georgia Line on Day 1 of C2C, he has a lot of songs that sound very familiar. Whilst on their own each have their merits, played one after another they began to sound like one long song. Despite that Aldean gave an energetic performance bolstered by a tight band that have mastered their craft through relentless touring over a decade. Aldean’s performance was a solid one but given he’s one of the most successful artists of the last 10 years, our expectations may have been a little too high and we expected a little more of the ’wow’ factor.