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Brett Young The O2 Arena London live review

The breakout star impressed during his London debut.

Brett Young
Credit: Joseph Llanes

Lady Antebellum’s You Look Good World Tour rolled into The O2 Arena in London for its final stop last night. The show is one that has been a must-attend in the diary of any Country music fan not only because of the headline act, but also because it’s the first time UK fans have been able to see rising star Brett Young perform live. Many had hoped that he would be announced as part of the C2C: Country to Country 2018 line-up but it looks like, for the moment anyway, we’ll have to make do with his opening slot for Lady Antebellum.

With his debut self-titled album having been officially released in the UK last week and his success in the US increasing by the day, there’s a real buzz around Young right now. Last night he was the first act to step onto The O2 Arena stage and despite only getting a four-song slot, he really left a lasting impression. The 6’ 6” blue-eyed blonde haired proved there’s more to him than his chiselled good looks and bulging biceps as soon as he launched into opening number Like I Loved You, his current single in the US.

Giving fans a stripped-down rendition of the track, Young impressed with his soulful vocals. It was refreshing to be able to hear something in The O2 Arena that wasn’t so bass heavy you couldn’t make out what the performer was singing. Young’s voice was crystal clear and he has a tone that makes you go a little weak at the knees. The break-up song was a hit with the audience and led into In Case You Didn’t Know, a track that has been certified 2x Platinum in the US and given him a real breakout moment. It’s not hard to see why the song has resonated strongly with Country music fans and it’s the kind of song that couples will call ‘our song’ and play at their weddings. Young’s rendition of it was flawless and the audience were more than happy to sing along.

Young showed his personality between his songs. He talked to the audience, cracked a few jokes and came across as the perfect gentleman. At one point he took the opportunity to thank the audience for being so quiet and attentive, explaining that as a songwriter he appreciated that the audience listened to him and his lyrics. I’m pretty sure I saw a few ladies (and men) swoon.

A cover of Leonard Cohen’s Hallelujah was surprisingly stirring. Everyone and their mother has covered this song, something Young pointed out before telling the audience cheekily that he didn’t care. His soulful vocals and the acoustic arrangement of the track stripped things down to basics and it’s one of the best versions of the song I’ve heard in a long time. For his closing number, Young went back to where his breakthrough started with the uptempo Sleep Without You. The Platinum hit is one of his finest and it succeeded in getting the audience on their feet.

It’s safe to say that Young smashed his debut at The O2 Arena in London. The only complaint is that he wasn’t on for longer than four songs, particularly when Kelsea Ballerini, who also supported Lady Antebellum, got around 45 minutes on stage. I could have listened to Young’s gorgeous vocals all night and I got the impression that many in the audience would have been happy to see a bit more of him too. Young has definitely left me wanting more and I’m crossing my fingers that a headline tour is on the cards for 2018.

 

Set list: 1. Like I Loved You 2. In Case You Didn’t Know 3. Hallelujah 4. Sleep Without You Performance date: 10th October 2017

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