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Thomas Rhett O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London live review

The star showed off his personality while wowing with his hits.

Thomas Rhett
Credit: UMO

Thomas Rhett was one of the standout acts at this year’s C2C: Country to Country, so when he announced a UK tour it was almost inevitable it would sell out. Last night the tour rolled into London, off the back of a new deluxe version of his Tangled Up album and a CMA Awards win (for Single of the Year for ‘Die A Happy Man’), and anticipation was high. It did not disappoint.

The set kicked off with party song Anthem, which was the perfect start – it got the crowd singing and dancing along and Rhett had them eating out of the palm of his hand. That set the tone for the first ‘funky’ section of the set, with the high energy maintained through Make Me Wanna and a shouldn’t-work-but-does mash-up of Tangled with DNCE’s Cake By The Ocean.

At this point the set was almost identical to his C2C performance and I was slightly concerned it would be more of the same. However, once Rhett moved into current single Star Of The Show, I knew I needn’t have worried. The song, a tribute to his wife Lauren, worked really well as a transition between the more uptempo songs and the ballads and conveyed a great sense of emotion, particularly in the stripped-back acoustic ending. The pattern of upbeat songs and acoustic tracks was repeated throughout the show and

My personal highlight was Rhett’s performance of The Day You Stop Lookin’ Back, which showed off his incredible vocals as well as his range. It’s one of my favourite songs on his Tangled Up album and I’m really glad he got to showcase it in front of an audience, as it deserves to be heard far more widely.

One of the things I really liked about the show was that it gave Rhett more opportunities to show other aspects of his personality. He chatted and joked with the audience (including a fan he pulled out of the crowd to sing on Friends In Low Places, who then didn’t know the words) and it was lovely to see him so relaxed and at ease. He also got to show off his impressive dance moves on an Uptown Funk cover and his songwriting chops on an acoustic section which included a version of Florida Georgia Line’s Round Here and giving a slight Beatles-esque vibe to One Direction’s Whole Lotta History. It was a great display of his showmanship and charisma and demonstrates that, as an entertainer, he can compete with the best of them.

If I had one criticism, it would be that there were perhaps one too many covers and I would have liked more of Rhett’s original material. But overall this was a great introduction for new fans as well as a chance to see a different side of him. I can’t wait to hear what he does next.

Set List: 1. Anthem 2. Make Me Wanna 3. Tangled/Cake By The Ocean (DNCE cover) 4. Star of the Show 5. The Day You Stop Lookin’ Back 6. Friends In Low Places (Garth Brooks cover) 7. I Feel Good 8. T-Shirt 9. Beer With Jesus 10. Round Here (Florida Georgia Line cover) 11. Whole Lotta History (One Direction cover) 12. Die A Happy Man 13. Get Me Some Of That 14. Uptown Funk (Mark Ronson featuring Bruno Mars cover) 15. Vacation Performance Date: 12th November 2016

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