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Little Big Town Royal Albert Hall, London live review

The four-piece returned to the UK for their biggest headline show to date.

Little Big Town
Credit: Decca

When it comes to promoting Country music in the UK, Little Big Town are one of the acts at the forefront. The four-piece, who celebrate their 20th anniversary next year, were part of the first C2C: Country to Country and they were so popular that they returned for a second time. They’ve also embarked on their own UK tour outside of C2C, regularly pulling in good crowds. Last night Little Big Town played their biggest headline show yet at the Royal Albert Hall in London as part of Country Music Week.

Anyone who has ever seen Little Big Town before will know that the one thing you can always rely on from them is pitch perfect vocals. The band opened their near 2-hour set with Night on Our Side and they took the opportunity to start the song acapella. With smiles beaming on their faces, the band delivered flawless harmonies before the music kicked in and the audience went wild. For a band that regularly sells out big shows in the US, it was pretty sweet watching their clear joy at the size crowd they’d pulled in the UK.

The set list for the evening drew on songs from across their nearly 20 year career with plenty of hits packed in alongside some interesting covers. The first time the audience really erupted was when Little Big Town performed Pontoon. I had a quick glance around the Royal Albert Hall and pretty much everyone was singing every single word. The energy of the band, and the crowd, never faulted once as they worked their way through the hefty 23 song set list.

One of the things I’ve always admired about Little Big Town is how supportive the members are of one another. There’s no fighting to be in the spotlight and their music has always allowed each member to shine. Karen Fairchild delivered an incredible vocal on the Taylor Swift-penned single Better Man, Kimberly Schlapman sounded positively radiant on the gorgeous Sober, Jimi Westbrook showcased the range of his wonderful vocals on Tumble and Fall, and Phillip Sweet on the raucous Front Porch Thing. Throughout the show the members embraced one another and you can tell that, even after all these years, they have such a unique and strong bond.

As they launched into a couple of covers, the band took a moment to reflect on the Las Vegas shooting that took place at the Route 91 Harvest Festival. That led in to a cover of Don William’s songs Lord I Hope This Day is Good and I Believe in You. The next cover they performed was Alicia Keys’ Fallin’ and if ever you needed proof that Little Big Town could sing the phonebook and it would sound amazing, that was the moment. Their vocals were insane with Westbrook hitting some incredible high notes and the harmonies soaring on the chorus.

During the set Fairchild announced that Little Big Town would be returning to C2C: Country to Country for a third time in 2018 but this time they would be headlining the third and final night of the festival. Eagle eyed fans had already speculated the group would be part of the line-up and the audience reacted very favourably to the news.

Elsewhere in the set Day Drinkin’ got everyone on their feet, the dreamy Lost in California was a rare downtempo moment and a cover of Oasis’ Wonderwall proved to be surprisingly effective. Girl Crush, perhaps the band’s best-known song, got an incredible reaction with the audience singing along at the top of their lungs.

After leaving the stage briefly, Little Big Town returned for an encore of Turn the Lights On and Boondocks. Both songs were the perfect uptempo way to end what had been an incredible set. During the encore the band shook hands with and embraced various audience members (earlier in the night one cheeky fan requested a selfie with Westbrook, which he was more than happy to do) before leaving the stage.

Repeatedly during the show Little Big Town expressed their joy at playing the Royal Albert Hall, describing it as a bucket list moment. As always they gave the show their all and it’s really no wonder that they are one of the most-loved bands in Country music. No one else does what they do and despite the levels of success they’ve had, they are so down to earth and humble. With incredible vocals, a flawless set list and plenty of crowd interaction, Little Big Town are one of the best live acts, from any genre, in music today. Roll on C2C!

 

Set list: 1. Night on Our Side 2. Happy People 3. Pontoon 4. Front Porch Thing 5. Little White Church 6. Tumble and Fall 7. Better Man 8. Rollin’ 9. Day Drinkin’ 10. Sober 11. Don’t Die Young, Don’t Get Old 12. Lord I Hope This Day Is Good/I Believe In You (Don Williams cover) 13. Fallin’ (Alicia Keys cover) 14. Beat Up Bible 15. Lost in California 16. Wonderwall (Oasis over) 17. When Someone Stops Loving You 18. Tornado 19. Stay All Night 20. Save Your Sin 21. Girl Crush 22. Turn the Lights On 23. Boondocks Performance date: 5th October 2017

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