Dan + Shay are one of the bands in Country music that have put plenty of time and effort into building a fan base in the UK. Since 2016 they’ve been to the UK multiple times performing headline shows at venues across the country including London’s Bush Hall and KOKO, and a slot on the Main Stage at C2C: Country to Country 2017. The duo has been back in the UK for the past week or so with their latest headline tour in support of their self-titled third album. Selling out every single date, the tour is their biggest UK jaunt to date and judging from their final show at O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire last night, they’re going to be able to move up to much larger venues on their next trip.
The last 12 months have been transformative for Dan + Shay. Their latest album is shaping up to be their biggest yet and it’s spawned two number one singles – Tequila and Speechless – with the former selling over two million copies and picking up two Grammy nominations. Add to that a very well-received UK tour and the energy was very high at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire as the duo arrived on stage opening with their debut single 19 You + Me. Over the course of the next 95 minutes, Dan + Shay didn’t let the energy drop once and the night turned into one great big party.
The set list was packed with all of the hits and the majority of the Dan + Shay record. The double punch of Alone Together and All to Myself, the band’s latest single, came early in the set and they were definitely highlights. Shay Mooney showcased his incredible vocals and every so often allowed a little freestyle riff to come out. He’s without a doubt one of the best vocalists in music right now and his voice sounds limitless. Dan Smyers worked the stage with an exhausting amount of energy, interacting with the crowd, playing guitar, singing backing vocals and hyping the crowd up.
Dan + Shay look overwhelmed as the audience sang every single word to every single song and there was one moment where Shay turned away from the stage, clearly trying to compose himself after getting a little emotional. His son Asher turned 2 yesterday and during the show he recorded a video of the crowd shouting Happy Birthday so that he could show it to him. It was a sweet moment and one that meant a lot to the singer.
Elsewhere in the set the excellent Keeping Score, sans Kelly Clarkson, was a highlight as was the rock-tinged Make or Break. Things were stripped down for My Side of the Fence and Can’t Say No before the band ramped back up with the infectious Stupid Love. One of the night’s biggest sing-a-longs came on the emotive From the Ground Up, which saw the entire audience give a standing ovation at the end.
For the encore Dan + Shay performed recent number one smash Speechless followed by a cover of Justin Timberlake’s Can’t Stop the Feeling. With the audience fully energised, the opening bars of Tequila got a huge reaction. Dan + Shay stopped the song, jumped off the stage and made their way into the middle of the crowded stalls where they sang the rest of the song. The audience sang every word, very loudly and it was a pretty special moment to be a part of.
Once they left the stage, I couldn’t help but feel a little sad that it was over. I could have easily watched the duo for hours and given the choice, I think they would have stayed on stage longer. Dan + Shay are at the top of their game right now and last night they proved why they’re one of the leading acts in Country music. Their live performance is polished, their chemistry evident and their catalogue of hits ever-expanding. They’ve definitely stepped up their game since their first shows here and I predict their journey to super-stardom is only just at the beginning.
Set list: 1. 19 You + Me 2. Nothin’ Like You 3. Alone Together 4. All to Myself 5. Show You Off 6. All Nighter 7. Keeping Score 8. From the Ground Up 9. How Not To 10. Make or Break 11. What Keeps You Up at Night 12. My Side of the Fence 13. Can’t Say No 14. Stupid Love 15. I Like the Sound of That (Rascal Flatts cover) 16. Lately 17. Speechless 18. Can’t Stop the Feeling (Justin Timberlake cover) 19. Tequila Performance date: 24th January 2019 Buy Dan + Shay