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Brett Eldredge Birmingham, UK – Live Review

Classy live show from one of Country music’s top vocalists.

Brett Eldredge
Credit: Warner Music Nashville

When Brett Eldredge woke up this morning, the day after his triumphant show in Birmingham, UK he might have wondered what that pain in his chest was. Indigestion? Heart Attack? After a few confused, sleepy moments he will have realised that the tenderness there was entirely self inflicted – we’ve never seen an artist thump themselves above their heart as many times as Eldredge did during this electric show in the heart of England.

For the second show in a week, (Keith Urban being the first one) the good people of Birmingham and the surrounding areas did themselves proud, to the point where the artist on stage was genuinely touched, emotional and impressed at the noise and engagement. Brett talked at length about how he loves playing the UK and how great UK crowds are and this is no ‘smoke-blowing’ exercise either. It continues to surprise me why not every Country music artist on tour in the UK plays Birmingham, (Ashley McBryde is conspicuous by her absence right now) because the crowds are always so loud, vociferous and completely 100% engaged at every show the city hosts.

Brett took the stage just before 9pm to a back-drop of a darker, retro-sounding intro that could have been lifted right out of Johnny Cash’s playbook. The opening morphed into a new song called ‘I Feel Fine’ which is going to be a classic live staple for years to come. The juxtaposition of positive lyrics mixed with the darker, heavier nature of the music gave the crowd the first indication of what was to come as Brett’s five piece band swapped and changed leads between them and flirted with a real jam-band style.

Welcome to Brett Eldredge 2022. As the show progressed it became clear that we were watching an artist fully at home with himself but straining against the genre boundaries and expectations of Nashville. Eldredge is no longer the simple, straight up guy who sang ‘Raymond’, he’s growing and evolving as an artist into bigger, more meandering styles reminiscent of bands like the Eagles and other similar artists of the 70s who enjoyed free styling and extending the intros and outros of their songs.

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Brett Eldredge in Birmingham
Credit: EF Country / James Daykin

Eldredge’s newer songs, ‘Songs About You’, ‘Want That Back’ and ‘Holy Water’ were all aired. The latter two, particularly, were outstanding in both the way Eldredge sang them and the impact they had on the crowd. An artist is evolving before our very eyes here as he pushes the boundaries of the Country genre, in the same way that he did with his ‘Sunday Drive’ album. This new incarnation of Eldredge is a heavyweight artist not afraid to extend his songs, add in snippets of other songs and orchestrate singalongs in all the right places. It makes some of the other guys who come across the Atlantic from Nashville looking a little like lightweight, surface dwellers right now to be honest.

Many of Eldredge’s ‘hits’ and fan favourites were played. ‘Love Someone’ was an energetic jump about, as was the frantic ‘Lose My Mind’. ‘Drunk on Your Love’ delighted the first ten rows as some serious spontaneous dancing broke out whilst the Birmingham choir really made themselves heard on ‘The Long Way’, which Eldredge played acoustically, with just himself on the stage. A couple of songs were conspicuous by their absence but as Eldredge moves into a different, weightier phase in his career then fun songs like ‘Somethin’ I’m Good At’ and older songs like ‘Raymond’ might not have as much of a place as they used to in a set that contains songs like ‘Gabrielle’ with an artist much more interested in delivering extended versions of his more heavyweight tracks.

The crowd did appreciate an airing of both ‘Don’t Ya’ and the set closer, ‘Beat of the Music’, which is a fantastic way to end a show as Eldredge beamed like the Cheshire Cat, seemingly reluctant to leave the stage, thumping his chest in delight and promising to be back as soon as possible. When that happens, when Eldredge comes back to the UK (please, please, please make it in December for some Christmas shows!), with the new album, ‘Songs About You’ under his belt, we will be there for sure, singing and dancing away to one of Country music’s best vocalists. An artist evolving as we speak, experimenting and tinkering with his sound and style, to be more reflective of who he is now and who he wants to be in the next phase of his career.

Credit: James Daykin Youtube

Set list: 1. I Feel Fine 2. Don’t Ya 3. Gabrielle 4. Songs About You 5. Love Someone 6. Want That Back 7. Drunk On Your Love 8. The Long Way Round 9. Good Day 10. Mean To Me 11. Magnolia 12. Holy Water 13. The Reason/My Girl 14. Lose My Mind 15. Wanna Be That Song 16. I Can’t Make You Love Me (Bonnie Raitt cover) 17. Beat of the Music Performance date: May 6th 2022

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