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C2C: Country to Country 2019 – Michael Ray after party live review

The singer-songwriter proved why he should have been on the Main Stage.

Michael Ray at C2C 2019
Credit: Graham Joy Photography

Following his standout performance on the Spotlight Stage earlier in the evening, Michael Ray got a chance to truly shine when he performed at the official C2C: Country to Country after show party last night. Fans had got a glimpse of what he could do during his three-song Spotlight Stage set but for the after show Ray was backed by a full band.

The focus of the set list was Ray’s latest album Amos, a body of work that showed a huge progression from his self-titled debut. Opening with Fan Girl, Ray immediately created a party vibe and considering he didn’t come onto stage until just after 11.15pm, he had way more energy than he should have done. He bounced around the stage and looked genuinely amazed by the reaction he received from the audience.

Next up was his debut single Kiss You in the Morning, which kept the tempo up. It’s a damn catchy song and it translates well live. His first number one smash, the track is one of those that you can’t get out of your head and Ray brought a new energy to it with his live rendition. After that it was back to Amos with Summer Water and I’m Gonna Miss You, the latter of which sounded a lot rockier live than it does on record.

For the full band version of Her World or Mine, Ray mashed it up with Coldplay’s Fix You, which actually worked well. Doing Coldplay at a UK show is always a bold thing to do but it was received with rapturous applause from the audience. Going down even better was Ray’s cover of the Brooks & Dunn classic Red Dirt Road and it confirmed my feeling that Ray has a traditional Country album in him, just waiting to come out.

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Forget About You combined a little R&B delivery with a pop/Country sound and Amos’ lead single Get To You showed off the range of Ray’s voice. One That Got Away, which got a huge reaction earlier on the Spotlight Stage, was greeted with a crowd sing-a-long and lots of screaming. Ray ended his set with Think a Little Less, which in my opinion is still one of his finest songs.

Throughout the set Ray talked about his childhood, his family and how he never thought his music would take him outside of his hometown, let alone to the UK. He was gracious, thankful and endlessly charismatic.

Michael Ray was one of the artists I’d been most excited to see at C2C and he didn’t disappoint. He delivered fantastic live vocals, a great set list and had so much energy, I felt exhausted just watching. I maintain that it’s criminal that he wasn’t one of the Main Stage openers because he would have absolutely killed it.

Set list: 1. Fan Girl 2. Kiss You in the Morning 3. Summer Water 4. I’m Gonna Miss You 5. Her World or Mine / Fix You 6. Red Dirt Road (Brooks and Dunn) 7. Forget About It 8. Get to You 9. You’re On 10. One That Got Away 11. Think a Little Less Performance date: Saturday 9th March 2019

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