Like a magical Wintery Wonderland, the stage at Symphony Hall Birmingham was set beautifully with fairy lights in the shape of balloons that swayed from side to side. The audience were mesmerised and the show hadn’t even begun yet. This was the first night of the tour and Clare’s first headline show ever in the UK, how lucky we were.
The band walked on stage which included TV show Nashville’s man behind the instruments Colin Linden, Clare’s talented singer songwriter brother Timothy James Bowen and her husband Brandon Robert Young who is a phenomenal singer/songwriter.
Clare Bowen casually walked on stage with feathers in her hair and wearing a stunning, glittery white dress which sparkled throughout the evening and perfectly fit within the stage theme – it’s only September and at that point it felt like Christmas.
Starting with My Song the crowd cheered and were already captivated. Fans of Scarlett on the Nashville series already know that Clare can sing but live, she really is something else. Made for the stage and made to sing, Clare’s performance and “on stage” presence throughout the evening was truly remarkable. A band consisting of family and dear friends, the chemistry and warmth between them was very obvious.
Singing songs from her debut album such as the emotional Doors and Corridors which is about Clare’s childhood and how her battles with her childhood sickness led her to where she is and who she is today she also continued with the real-life battles theme with Ave’s Song. Clare shared the inspiration behind Ave’s Song where a close friend was at her worst and saw no way out but it turned out she had wings as is at her happiest now. The story was very moving and a great insight to what a kind and caring woman Clare is and her talents to write her experiences on to paper and to then translate to a live setting is really quite something.
Clare didn’t forget her Nashville fans and certainly wanted to dedicate her time on the show. We were treated with songs from the show such as If I Didn’t Know Better which was the first song we hear Scarlett sing and was a duet with Gunnar (Sam Palladio) . With Sam not being present, Brandon Robert Young stepped in and not for the first time as it was duetting in this song that they met for the first time. Brandon and Clare sing so beautifully together that it is clear they were meant for each other. Other Nashville songs included a stunning rendition of the powerful Black Roses and a gorgeous version of When The Right One Comes Along. With the songwriters of When The Right One Comes Along (Striking Matches) being the support act, Clare thanked them for their song.
Favouite moments came from the incredible original song Lullaby. This song on the cd is empowering but live it was so much more. With heavenly instrumentation throughout the songs melody, I couldn’t help but wish for more songs like this and hope something of similar style will be released in the future. Lullaby is an ambient song with trance styled vocals. Another sensational moment was when Clare and Brandon sang their duet All The Beds I’ve Made. The ballad is a wonderful country styled duet and again, their vocals blended perfectly. They duetted again for Longer and Brandon’s harmonies were out of this world. Another show stopping moment was Tide Rolls In which is loud, mad and fun and Clare even ran out into the audience.
So much went on during the set that there is simply too much to write about. We got to hear Timothy Bowen sing a song he wrote for Nashville that Deacon sang for Rayna and we were also treated by a fab solo performance from Colin Linden. Clare gave us a medley of best known country tunes such as 9 to 5 and The Gambler and she took us to another emotional moment with her inspirational song Warrior which she wrote for the kids she was in hospital with, many whom never got to grow up.
Little by Little was a great moment with the audience all singing along and Let It Rain was a feel good moment as Clare would say “For anyone who has ever buggered up”.
The night was closed with Nashville show favourite A Life That’s Good and Striking Matches came back on stage to join in with Clare and her band.
Clare was like a fairy princess as she pranced around the stage, she could have thrown confetti or fairy dust in the crowd and I think everyone would have been delighted. A voice so beautiful and natural and a personality so warming and so down to earth, you couldn’t help but fall in love with her. The entire show was simply sensational, enchanting, fun, celebratory and just a dang good time. The future is bright for Clare Bowen as a solo artist and with her music not being stuck to a genre, she can attract fans from all over and really make it big.