The Shires were the perfect headliner for the first ever Summer Party at CountryFile Live. Amongst a crowd of families, farmers and more, what more can you want than to end your day our with an evening of great music from family friendly artists that can entertain everyone in attendance?
The Shires are the biggest selling country artists in the UK and it isn’t hard to see why. A duo that were meant for each other vocally, Crissie and Ben’s voices bounce off each other and their on Stage chemistry would indicate a lifetime of friendship.
Starting the set with Echo from new album Accidentally on Purpose, The Shires already created an atmosphere that was homely, exciting and some would even say magical. I had almost forgotten how a Shires show could make me feel. As someone who used to attend almost every gig they ever did but haven’t seen them in over a year, I realised just how much I have missed their performances and I felt a certain sense of thrill and quite a bit of emotion.
Crissie sparkled on stage with her sparkling, glittering gold dress and the pair interacted with the audience as if they were old friends. Next singing the first song they wrote together titled All Over Again from their debut album Brave , they then stripped it back a bit with a stunning performance of I Just Wanna Love You which is always powerfully emotive.
Retaining that emotional feel, Crissie then takes vocal lead with Daddy’s Little Girl, a song she wrote in dedication to her late father who sadly passed when she was just eight years old and is from second album My Universe. Putting a brave face on, Crissie’s vocals soared and her emotion and passion were felt with every word that she sang. Other songs performed included the gorgeous Sleepwalk, State Lines and the song that started it all for them Nashville Grey Skies which remains a favourite for me. Nashville Grey Skies is somewhat of a love letter to country music in the UK. When the song was first released, country music in the UK was just at the start of becoming what it is today which is pretty special. Dreaming of Country artists being on festival bills, on mainstream radio and drawing large crowds, the song has now become a reality, especially for The Shires.
The Shires branded beach balls were thrown into the crowd during a highly energetic performance of Guilty. Guilty was probably the most gripping part of the set and the kids in particular were thoroughly enjoying themselves trying to grab a beach ball and jumping around to the up beat melody.
A very special CountryFile Live guest joined Ben and Crissie on stage for River of Love in Matt Baker from the One Show. Having had no rehearsal, Matt was practicing his chords backstage moments before and he ran on stage rather excitedly. Matt was a pro, his excitement was infectious and he certainly took the opportunity in his stride as he moved around the stage playing his guitar, singing backing vocals and getting the crowd to take part in some “arms up in the air” action. Matt Baker walked past us as he left the stage and I heard him say to his son beaming “That was brilliant”.
A Shires show wouldn’t be a Shires show without the song Tonight. The song has become somewhat of tradition for the duo and the fans as has the most fan interaction part of any of their songs. Splitting the audience in two for a two part “vocal off” the crowd could be heard for miles, or so it felt. Leaving the stage to end their set, the audience continued the “Tonight” chant until Crissie and Ben returned to the stage.
Returning without their band, Crissie and Ben delivered a sensational version of Islands In The Stream. The band returned for closing number A Thousand Hallelujahs which was the perfect close to a perfect set.
One thing that I love about The Shires is their ability to write strong, catchy Country Pop tracks that are fun and uplifting as well as beautifully written ballads which pull at the heart strings.
The Shires gave a truly captivating performance that was strong, exciting and overall, just happy happy happy.
If it’s a crime to have a good time – then the entire audience were Guilty.