Chris Young Live in London
Words By Jordan Mitchell Photos by HelsBels Photography
London has been treated to lots of wonderful country music concerts this year, and the return of the delightful Chris Young at the O2 Shepherds Bush Empire Monday 14th September was no exception. With tickets sold out well in advance, it was no surprise to see outside the venue a number of excited country fans, with their cowboy boots and Stetsons at the ready.
Inside the beautiful arena, the crowd eagerly gathered for the opening act – Frankie Davies – who took to the stage with just herself and her acoustic guitar for company. As she began, a soft yet deceptively powerful voice filled the room; and the appreciation from the crowd was evident. Her songs were enjoyable and at times moving, especially when she shared the story behind her second song, about her dad getting people through hard times and always smiling. Davies vocal ability was just superb it really effortless despite her self-confessed inexperience in such a big venue. She chose a cover to close her set, originally by Jesse Fuller, the song San Francisco Bay Blues. It proved a great choice and made her set interesting and varied, and whilst it was a welcomed change to hear an acoustic performance, I do wonder what she would have sounded like with a full band behind her. Nonetheless, it was a wonderful way to start any concert.
With the crowd enjoying the background music and plenty of a beer in hand it was just about that time to bring on the main man…with cheers and clapping the band joined the stage, which roused the crowd further, but nothing like when Chris Young ran on and opened the night with his track A.M. That deep drawl in his voice is simply charming, it creates an amazing depth to his songs, which worked especially well especially on the up and coming tracks Getting you home, and Voices. From there, it was in to his gold RIAA certified song Who I am With You, this song is extremely catchy and is personally one of my favourite tracks of the A.M album.
Evident throughout the entire evening was that everyone was in high spirits and were all thoroughly enjoying the music and the venue. Young spoke about when he first started out and how he was lucky enough aged 21 to get signed to RCA records, who he is still signed to. Engaging the crowd with older influences such as Conway Twitty in Young’s own song I Can Take It From There, to a cover of Keith Whitley’s When You Say Nothing At All, Young did an outstanding job.
On the back of this came the part of the show where it was time for Young to show off his talented band and talented they were, the drummer and lead guitarist gave it their all and wowed the crowd. The tour name Im Coming Over, which is the newest release, was played next and I’m sure it was the one everyone was waiting for, as the response was very impressive. Neon was performed shortly after then it was back to the band, when the guitarist and Young’s vocals combined to create a little call and response. With one another the guitar would play a short fast solo and Young’s vocals would mimic – it was a time to show off his incredible range and was a pleasant addition to the night. One thing that has struck me with country musicians is their kindness and it was something very apparent as a fan shouted out “Text Me Texas” and with that he played the song. The show was rounded off with Eric Clapton’s Change The World and it was a nice change of pace to the set which added some variety.
Overall the show was thoroughly enjoyable I have personally been lucky enough to see Chris Young perform three times previous to this gig and each performance have been equally as good. This chap certainly does not disappoint, a high recommendation for any country fan to catch this one live.