Miranda Lambert finally brings her sassy – Country – rocking performance to UK Country 2 Country Festival
By Hannah Compton
Photos by Jamie Lee Bassingthwaighte
March 18th 2016
Now anyone who knows me knows that I am a huge Miranda Lambert fan. Since I discovered her music back in 2007, she has had a massive influence on my love for Country Music.
Whilst getting bigger in the UK, Country Music was certainly not big back when I first heard Miranda, so the chances of her playing here were very slim. I have been lucky enough to see Miranda live in a very small intimate setting at her fan club party during CMA Festival in Nashville 2010 just before she hit the real big time as well as seeing her on her ‘Four The Record’ tour.
Over the last few years Miranda Lambert has been a huge name in Country Music. Leading the CMA Awards and currently holding the Title of Female Vocalist of The Year six years running. Miranda’s career has grown from strength to strength with every album she releases. It has been apparent that Miranda’s music was very sought after by pretty much every Country fan in the UK, but we were still convinced that her touring the UK would never happen!
Last year, whilst heavily pregnant, I was kindly offered the opportunity to attend and cover The Launch event for Country 2 Country Festival (London’s biggest Country Festival) on behalf of Think Country where the line up for the festival was to be announced so the media could release the information. On my train journey there it was leaked that Miranda was going to be a headliner – and this was not just a rumour, as it was featured on her own website. Well emotions took charge. I was shocked, in disbelief as well as ecstatic and beyond happy. The Ran Fan in me was on a high for the rest of the day and even more so that I had secured second row centre tickets earlier that year.
Fast forward to C2C week. March was here, plans were set in place, everything was getting exciting.
Friday night – the first night – was Miranda’s night to headline the festival. Second row centre, I was all set. The band took to the stage and started the intro to Kerosene – the title track from Miranda’s first studio album and a fan favourite. Miranda walked on stage dressed in a cute vintage skirt and a black long sleeved top. One of the things I love about the way Miranda performs is there are no gimmicks, costume changes or over done stage production. She doesn’t need any of that to deliver a stellar performance. Just Miranda and her band and a video backdrop. Opening with Kerosene was a great choice and I always love the force behind the HA! Ran fans will understand that reference.
The crowd were all singing along and dancing by their chairs as many people had waited so long for this to happen. Now, as a huge fan, do not mistake my opinion for being biased – in fact, I am more likely to be critical as I have high expectations – but I simply could not fault her performance. My only and very slight issue was that I wish she had performed three more of her own songs rather than three covers. However, the covers were fantastically well done and with that little bit of a Ran twist to it that you would think they were her songs anyway – especially with her closing version of Bitch by The Rolling Stones.
Since seeing Miranda perform during the release week of her fifth studio album Platinum about two years ago, there is certainly a difference now. I feel in the last year that Miranda has got back to her old roots, how she was in the early days. She seems to perform with so much more passion and vulnerability now and really connects with her audience – not that she never did, but this time she just seemed to be more emotional and believable. The heart that goes into every song makes you feel every word she sings and that sort of passion is something that cannot be taught or forced. I think Miranda has forgotten or perhaps never realised just how good she really is.
From the energetic performances such as Little Red Wagon -where she brought swagger and sass, Gunpowder And Lead and Kerosene-where she brought attitude, Fastest Girl In Town – where she brought cool, to the softer performances of Over You, The House That Built Me and Bathroom Sink – where she brought her sweeter, more vulnerable side, all show that she can just about pull anything off. Miranda’s voice live is flawless and you can hear a much stronger, twangier tone live than you can on CD. Whilst sounding amazing on CD, it doesn’t do her justice.
Miranda’s set list was fan perfection. Of course we always want more, but there was a real good mix with at least one song from every one of her five albums. There wasn’t a dry eye in the building during Over You (Four the record) and The House That Built Me (Revolution), two songs people were afraid she would never perform again since a recent personal situation. Amongst the set list was Sweet By And By, a fantastic new song that is featured on the Southern Family album – a compilation from various artists. Sweet By And By reminds me very much of the Revolution album era and restores my faith that any new material she does will be of similar if not better standard – especially as she has been writing with best friend and fellow Country musician Ashley Monroe a lot over the last year.
After seemingly finishing with Gunpowder And Lead, Miranda returned to the stage to introduce Ashley Monroe. Miranda had also joined Ashley on stage last night at the CMA Songwriters Series during Ashley’s performance of Heart Like Mine, which they wrote together with Travis Howard. Best friends for around twelve years, Miranda and Ashley performed Carole King’s You’ve Got A Friend together for Miranda’s C2C encore, which was very moving. You can see how much they mean to each other and how much they respect and support each other as artists as well as friends. For those who are unfamiliar with Ashley, she is, in my opinion, one of the best Country singers out there, with a truly beautiful Country voice similar to that of Alison Krauss. Together, Miranda and Ashley sing beautifully and I could listen to them all day. Ashley Monroe has her own solo albums out, Like A Rose, produced by Vince Gill and features nine stunning tracks, including the comical and slightly raunchy Weed Instead Of Roses – a song definitely worth looking up – and a more recently released album The Blade, with a stunning title track which is so good, I am surprised it’s not a massive hit on Country Radio.
In my eyes, no one was going to top this performance and no one did. I think I speak for pretty much everyone when I say, come back Miranda, there is always a stage here waiting for you and I will be the “fastest girl in town” when it comes to ticket purchasing!
Fastest Girl In Town
Heart Like Mine
Sweet By And By
Tush (ZZ Top)
All Kinds Of Kinds
Mama’s Broken Heart
The House That Built Me
Little Red Wagon
Gunpowder And Lead
You’ve Got A Friend – (Carole King) with Ashley Monroe
Bitch (The Rolling Stones)