Darius Rucker returned to the C2C: Country to Country Main Stage last night as the penultimate artist on Day 2 of the festival. Throughout the day he was the artist I heard most people talking about and he was definitely getting a lot of buzz prior to his performance.
Over the course of his set last night Darius delivered the hits his fans wanted to hear, some classics from the Hootie & the Blowfish back catalogue and a few carefully selected covers that showcased his influences. Darius opened up the set with Lighter Up and for the most part he kept things uptempo and energetic. From the opening bars, the audience were in the palm of Darius’ hand and they stayed there throughout the 70-minute set.
Highlights in the set included Radio, the catchy This and the uptemp gem Homegrown Honey. In the middle of the set Darius talked about how a great song is a great song regardless of genre before launching into covers of Garth Brooks’ Friends in Low Places and Blackstreet’s No Diggity. Both songs whipped the audience into a frenzy!
During the set Darius performed two Hootie & the Blowfish songs – Hold My Hand and Only Wanna Be With You – both of which went down very well with the audience. Listening to those songs now next to Darius’ Country repertoire, it’s funny that it ever seemed like a big transition of genres when he launched his solo Country music career. Both songs fit right into the set and were welcome additions.
The only moment in the set that jarred for me was latest single If I Told You. To my ears it’s far too wordy and the delivery jars a little with the melody. I could tell I was in the minority as the audience were singing along to every word but for me, I think he has much better songs than that one.
The set came to a close with an emotional rendition of Prince’s Purple Rain. Prior to starting the song, Darius explained how the music industry lost some real legends in 2016 and described David Bowie, George Michael and Prince as his idols. With the entire arena swaying with their phone lights on, it was a magical moment and one of the highlights of Day 2.
Darius is a true entertainer. He delivered high energy and consistently solid vocals. When it comes to his music, he operates in his own lane releasing music that perfectly encapsulates what he wants to say and who he is as an artist. As he left the stage, I was left wondering why he wasn’t one of this year’s headliners as he certainly got one of the biggest reactions from the audience.
Set list: 1. Lighter Up 2. Radio 3. Southern State of Mind 4. If I Told You 5. True Believers 6. First Time 7. It Won’t Be Like This For Long 8. Friends in Low Places 9. No Diggity 10. This 11. Alright 12. Hold My Hand 13. Homegrown Honey 14. Only Wanna Be With You 15. Come Back Song 16. Wagon Wheel 17. Purple Rain Performance Date: Saturday 11th March 2017