• Words Sarah Webb Pictures John Berresford

Lady Antebellum, Kelsea Ballerini Brett Young Birmingham / London


Having managed to miss Lady Antebellum on every other visit they have made, this time it wasn’t happening. After a 6 month wait the Lady A drought was about to end. Coming off the back of Country Music Week in the seven days prior to the gig, this event was going to be hectic to attend, even so the offer of tickets to the Birmingham show as well was too good to pass up and so it was to be Lady A two nights running.

Having never been to the Barclaycard Arena in Birmingham, now to be confused with the NEC or the O2 Academy, it is near the Jewellery Quarter and right in the centre of town. Getting in and out for someone who doesn’t know the area was not easy. In fact leaving was the biggest issue, as multiple car parks converge on one street, bad idea! We made it just in time for Brett Young and my first observation as a true country music fan was, oh dear this is going to be a struggle. The venue was fairly full of older clientele who just sat and listened, no toe tapping, no jiggling in their seats, no singing along and definitely no dancing. The conversations going on behind me, about being on “google” about this chap on stage made me very disappointed but I suppose Lady Antebellum draw a more commercial crowd.

Brett did a great set, He has been on tour with them in the USA and now Europe for the whole summer and he was definitely comfortable with his act. There were a few die hard country fans singing along and thank goodness he could interact with them. There were sound problems in Birmingham, so if you didn’t know any of the songs, it did sound a bit distorted, maybe this was because it was set for Lady A? It was a short but sweet set, but if I am honest it has left me wanting more, I would like to see him again and get to know more of his repertoire.

Brett Young - Songs

  1. Sleep Without You

  2. In Case You Didn’t Know

  3. Like I Loved You

  4. Hallelujah

Having made her UK debut earlier in the year at Under The Bridge and with her upcoming appearance at C2C 2018 announced this was an early chance to get to see one the major stars.

As the lights went down to announce the arrival of Kelsea, a few screams went up from the die hard country fans but most of the crowd just stayed in their seats, very disappointing in our opinion. Her set was vibrant and fun, she is full energy and I liked when she sat on the stage to chat with the audience, it felt like a bit of one on one time, even though there were probably 8000 of us there. We had new music mixed with old, fun videos of Dibs the puppy and Morgan the fiancé it was an insight into her life, it felt personal. I personally love "Peter Pan" and was thrilled when she sang that, it gives me goosebumps and tears always prick my eyes, there was a beautiful video wall and the smoke effects all added to the song. She ended her set on a high with Yeah Boy" and it was a high as she ordered the whole arena to their feet and they obeyed, it felt good to get up and dance, it is wrong to permanently sit down at a music event especially when the music is this good.

Kelsea Ballerini - Songs

  1. Love Me Like You Mean It

  2. We Were Roses

  3. Dibs

  4. I Hate Love Songs

  5. Unapologetically

  6. Stilletoes

  7. XO

  8. Heartbreak Medley

  9. Peter Pan

  10. Legends

  11. Yeah Boy

During the stage strip down they get the audience cam out, so basically the audience are dancing to the music and you suddenly find yourself on the big screens, yep you guessed it, yours truly ended up there! I was totally oblivious too, it wasn’t until people told me they had seen me, I was miles away having a good time! What a great way of killing fifteen minutes, nobody notices the crew ripping the stage to bits, they are too busy acting up to the camera, it was good fun and loosened up the audience well. Eventually it was time to start and they burst on stage to their hit “Downtown” from there on the hits didn’t stop, with most of the music coming from their "Heartbreak" album, which is another excellent piece of work from this amazing band. We started the set in Birmingham on our feet and were jiggling away having fun, it wasn’t until the slower song’s that we took our seats. Being the penultimate night of the tour they explained all about how they had enjoyed their summer, that they had bought all their families with them to Europe and that they were loving England. I can not fault this band, they were probably one of the most polished and perfect bands I have ever seen, their sound was incredible, the three of them gel together so well, their additional band members are also fantastic, the extra brass section borrowed from Justin Timberlake just makes this tour that bit WOW!! Anyone who knows our line of business outside W21 Music, knows we are into lighting and sound installation, so when you are greeted with a lighting set up as perfect as that, you know the company and client are just perfectionists, it was something geeks like us get excited about. By the time they left the stage I still wanted more and thankfully they came on for an encore and wow they delivered with style. "Need You Now" and a beautiful tribute to Tom Petty with a gorgeous photo lighting up the stage. Sadly all to soon it was over but thankfully we still had the next night in London to look forward to!

Lady Antebellum - Songs

  1. Downtown

  2. Our Kind Of Love

  3. This City

  4. Dancing Away With My Heart

  5. Heartbreak

  6. Compass

  7. American Honey

  8. Wanted You More

  9. Run To You (in London dedicated to victims of Las Vegas)

  10. Good Time To Be Alive

  11. Hurt

  12. Still The One (with Kelsea and Brett)

  13. Just A Kiss

  14. You Look Good

  15. Bartender

  16. Love Don’t Live Here

ENCORE

  1. Need You Now

  2. Learning To Fly for Tom Petty

Deja Vu, so the last night of the tour was upon them and it was going to be emotional, Charles even said he didn’t want it to end, his words were “I might cry, don’t let these tight jeans fool you” after all they have been working hard for months and now he’s got to take some enforced time off whilst both Dave and Hillary add to their families. Although I am sure they could do with the rest and have some quality family time together. Not much can be added for the review, apart from in Birmingham they barely wanted to get out of their seats and dance, last night I had a friend who was verbally assaulted for dancing, why is that acceptable at a concert in this day and age? We are at concerts to have fun, please try and have fun, if you don’t want to don’t stop others who are really enjoying themselves! Things in London that were of note, the sound was better than Birmingham it was so much clearer than the day before, the light show was just as incredible, so a huge thumbs up to the visual effects team.

All in all, next time Lady Antebellum come back to the UK, or even if we are in the USA #TEAMW21will definitely be arranging to see them again, they were just incredible, well worth every penny of their entry fee. Please go if you want to see a true country music top of the range band, you won’t be disappointed !

#LadyAntebellum #KelseaBallerini #BrettYoung

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