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  • Chris Farlie

Long Road Festival - Sara Evans - Rhinestone Stage

There are two golden rules of show business, Make a grand entrance" and "Leave them wanting for more" and Sara Evans after an absence from the UK of 20 years certainly delivered on both. Her coming was announced by a rich hammond organ setting the scene for an instrumental version of "I Get By With A LIttle Help From My Friends", gradually 2 backing singers ( on of whom would later be revealed to be Sara's daughter) joined the fray with tambourines intent on making sure the ground was prepared for the arrival of Sara herself.

When she finally arrived and launched appropriately into "A Real Fine Place To Start" she immediately moved to holding the mic and was pointing out into the crowd in what was something of a blistering start. With a band consisting of 2 guitarists, we were barely in to "Perfect" before the crowd were fully participating along. This was a full on production with "Not Over You" followed by "Back Seat Of A Greyhound Bus", the latter speeding up as it reached its finale.

Sara was keen to play songs from her covers album of 2020 which led to the somewhat surreal sight of a straight forward disco cover of Yvonne Ellimann's "If I Can't Have You" firing out form the Rhinestone Stage. Somehow it worked however we were definitely on safe ground with a Patsy CLine cover of "She's Got You" with just Sara and a piano being all that was required for the first verse., hte band did eventually join in later and the song also found time for both organ and electric guitar solos before completing.

Things seems to pass by at breakneck speed, "A Little Bit Stronger" demonstrated just what a polished production this was, and within seemingly minutes of her coming on Sara was in the home straight with "Born To Fly" replete with a searing hammond sound, which completed to huge applause. In a moment similar to Marty Stuarts "Ring Of Fire", Sara starting "Suds In The Bucket" saw the audience break out into something akin to euphoria - it seemed that everyone was up singing and dancing for what was irresistably good fun - even the band was full of smiles as they played - such was the power that the song possessed.

If this was a C2C audition, and she is one of the few truly big stars yet to play then she passed with flying colours, able to engage the audience both young and old. It surely will not be 20 years before her next visit

The Long Road Festival will return 25th-27th August 2023.

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