Miranda Lambert has been my favourite artist for over ten years now and back then, I truly believed that she would never do a show in the UK. I travelled to the US three times to see her and was even tempted by her festival in Gstaad years back but sadly could not go. The moment Miranda was announced for C2C Festival in 2015, I remember freaking out and thinking, this can’t be real? There were so many rumours that she had no intention of coming over that I had almost accepted it. C2C was a treat, a massive treat and again, I thought that would be it, no more shows for a long while. When Miranda was over here for C2C, I remember her saying something along the lines of only returning with Ashley Monroe – so when Ashley announced her pregnancy, it was mixed feelings on happiness for Ashley and also, dang! Miranda wont be over here for a while again. Of course, that ended up not being the case as Miranda announced UK tour dates.
I think I speak for pretty much the entire UK country music fan base when I say her announcement for this tour had everyone bouncing off the walls. Not only was she returning for a London date but Birmingham, Manchester, Glasgow and Ireland too. Would it be too much to book every date I asked myself? No, but, I had to be realistic and just booked three ha!
Kicking off her European tour in Bloemendaal in The Netherlands, Miranda then started her UK leg in Birmingham. A long journey to get there, I arrived just in time for her support act, UK duo Ward Thomas (separate review). Sat front row and centre, I hadn’t been this excited for a show in a long time.
Miranda kicked things off with Fastest Girl In Town which she is no stranger to doing as she did on her On Fire Tour in 2012. Just like back then, this was a great choice to start the show as got the energy going. I did envision her starting with Runnin’ Just In Case as could imagine the band starting a long intro and her then casually walking on stage in the dark, start singing and then the lights would shine on her – alas, I was wrong. With FGIT being such a popular song, everyone sang along and we all knew that this was going to be one hell of a show.
Miranda looked amazing, the best she has ever looked I might add. She wore all black in the form of a skirt and top with black fish net tights and nice black ankle boots and she just seemed so much happier and more confident than she has done in a long time.
I always feel that Miranda is more sassy and confident ( in a rowdier way) when she is on her own soil – I think that is down to knowing her audience and the US being a more drinking, louder crowd. We, the UK, do have a habit of shying away from going all out as a majority but the audience were getting more into it as the night went on.
With the phenomenal back catalogue that Miranda has, she certainly made sure we got at least one song off each album. Crowd pleaser Kerosene was the second track off the evening and is always a kick ass song live with a lot of sass and attitude, especially in the “Teach them what they need to learn Ha!” Part. Miranda strutted her stuff across stage, giving everyone in the audience attention and not just sticking to the centre stage. Kerosene is always a favourite for me as the album Kerosene was the first album I had of hers and holds so much meaning and of course I would love to hear more from that album but she has so many more songs now and I have seen many of them live before so all is good.
Miranda’s crowd interaction was on top form as she didn’t just engage with her audience, she made you feel as if you mattered as she looked at so many fans in the eye and smiled as well as often mouthing thank you.
“Y’all are so quiet! I don’t know what to do” Miranda addressed at one point. “You are just so polite and so sweet.”
If you have heard The Weight Of These Wings album then you know it is one heck of a fantastic double album with all the songs being single worthy and sadly, just not possible for them to all be performed live, however, we were treated with Highway Vagabond as one of many songs she performed and if you are familiar with it, you will be aware it has a really infectious intro with a “Road movie” styled sound mixed with a strong southern country twang. This song live was exceptional and really atmospheric and left me buzzing. This was followed by her debut single off the album Vice – again, this song live did not disappoint and the entire audience sang along.
Baggage Claim was really fun, Miranda really got into it and asked where her ladies were at as the song started, getting all the women in the crowd angry in a fun way, we all sang our hearts out with our fists in the air. We Should Be Friends was next, another epic track from The Weight Of These Wings with a lot of relatable and fun lyrics. Miranda’s stage presence during this song was great to watch as she got quite involved with the lyrics via facial expressions and actions.
There are so many songs to love of Miranda’s but many people’s favourites are Over You and The House That Built Me. I think The House That Built Me holds a lot of meaning to many UK fans as was the first Miranda song a lot of people in the audience I know heard of hers. That song did change her career for the better and is always a very emotional moment of her shows as is Over You. Miranda sang these beautifully as expected and many a fan shed a tear or two.
Every song was known to the audience, every intro people knew instantly what the song was and cheered. Miranda gave us a brief story of her situation over the last couple of years saying how she recently got divorced and took a bow as the crowd cheered, she explained how it was a relief and she is in a great place now but the in between was tough and she did a lot of drinking and going out to bars, more than she should have and how she wrote a song about it and then she went into Ugly Lights from The Weight Of These Wings. I love Ugly Lights as it has a punk rock edge to it. Ugly Lights flowed straight into Mama’s Broken Heart which really got the energy going, I think I danced like a maniac as is so electric and energetic live. I and many others went even crazier during Little Red Wagon which holds so much attitude and again, as mentioned many times SASS. The energy from Miranda during this song was so much more confident than her C2C performance and was one of the highlights of the night for me.
Automatic always delivers a homely vibe when live, something about that song just brings a real country feel and it was one of the songs I felt connected the audience and Miranda the most.
Mirandas band were awesome, they always are and Miranda always shows so much gratitude and pride for them. Introducing them individually from places she said we probably have never heard of before but cheer anyway she left her steel guitar player to the end who hailed from Essex, England and he drew the biggest cheer of all. Most ran fans are also huge fans of her backing singer Gwen Sebastian. An artist in her own right and former contestant on NBC’S The Voice, Gwen has been a good friend and touring member of Miranda’s band for a few years now. Gwen is not only a highly talented singer but a songwriter too. Gwen co-wrote a few songs off of The Weight Of These Wings including one of my favourites Runnin’ Just In Case. Gwen and Miranda have such a lovely connection on stage and you can see the admiration and support that they have for each other and it is so nice to see. Miranda likes to involve her band heavily which is always a good thing and Gwen is more than just a backing singer as she comes up front to perform the sassy, tongue and cheek, fun-lovin’, cool track Pink Sunglasses. The pair really brought an already great song to more life, showing that the song translates so well in a live setting and of course, they both wore pink sunglasses and flung them into the audience at the end.
If bringing Gwen up front to perform with her wasn’t enough, Miranda shows her support and love for her friends by telling the audience that Gwen, an independent artist has a single out at the moment which the two of them wrote together on a girls trip in L.A. Miranda then leaves the stage to allow Gwen Sebastian to perform her current single Cadillac.
I was really hoping that this was going to happen and was so glad when it did. Gwen is a superstar with a truly strong Southern and traditional country tone which is incredibly infectious and flawless live. Her passion and her emotion on stage was a joy to witness and she proved how much she belonged there and that her talents were on par if not above any other artist in country music today. I just hope that Gwen comes over to do her own tour as she is without a doubt an artist to watch. Cadillac is a fantastic song which I urge you to check out.
I don’t think it is a Miranda show without White Liar, what I love about this song live is when she picks a guy at the end from the audience and points to him whilst singing the last White Liar line. I always look around to try and guess who she will pick.
Miranda ended the set with Gunpowder and Lead which more than left things on a high before returning to the stage for an encore of the exceptionally hauntingly beautiful Tin Man which was acoustic, just Miranda and her guitar. I can’t imagine that there was anyone in the audience who didn’t feel every word to this song, I was almost in tears. Tin Man is one of most beautiful songs released in a long time and it is so painful, relatable and her performance was steller, flawless and simply stunning.
She brought the high energy back though with her band returning to the stage to sing a cover of U2’s Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For. For this song, Miranda invited Gwen back up to the front along with their roadie who is also one of the best singer/songwriters Miranda knows and he goes by the name of Blue. The three of them sang a verse each as well as an unexpected vocal from the keyboard player which took a while to figure out who was singing. This song was so well crafted and so beautiful that Miranda could not continue to sing it as she was too overwhelmed and emotional. Miranda cried, we cried, everyone cried, it was a truly beautiful and emotional evening and one many of us, if not all, will never forget.
There is something about a Miranda Lambert show that is like no other, she is one of a kind, unique and so awe inspiring. Whilst Miranda is huge in country music, she deserves to be huge in all genres because she is one of the best singer/songwriters around and deserves so much more recognition.
Manchester had even more energy than Birmingham and Miranda really knocked it out of the park and the atmosphere was something else. Whilst the set list was the same, she also treated is with an impromptu cover of Patsy Cline’s Crazy alongside her guitarist Scotty Wray. A flawless performance, I feel very privileged to have seen that live. Miranda was also more comedic in Manchester and I feel she felt a lot more comfortable and I think that having a rowdier crowd helped and gave her that boost, as she did say in Birmingham that they were all very nervous.
In London we were treated with and incredibly surprised by an unexpected appearance from boyfriend and artist Anderson East who came on stage to perform Getaway Driver – a song they co-wrote for her album The Weight Of These Wings. Together, they sing beautifully and their harmonies were a match made in heaven – that moment was something we were all going to go away with with the fondest of memories. Anderson’s attendance was very welcome and was a beautiful moment to see their love and support for each other and to just see Miranda happy and of course to see a performance we are likely to never see again.
I hope Miranda makes the UK a regular stop.