US star Miranda Lambert returned to the UK last week after proving popular at Country to Country in 2016. Lambert played shows in Manchester, Birmingham, Glasgow and London as part of her Highway Vagabond Tour. She is also due to play two shows in Ireland as part of their Harvest Festival. I caught her on the last date in London at the Eventim Apollo which is a beautiful grade 2 listed building. It didn’t seem to be as big as say Shepherd’s Bush Empire but I think that added to the intimacy of the concert.
After a short set from Ward Thomas Miranda appeared on stage with her pretty blue guitar. She opened her with ‘Fastest Girl In Town’ which got people up out of their seats from the start. It was clearly a case of start as you mean to go on as the majority of the audience proceeded to stand for the shows entirety. Lambert looked thrilled as she sung her way through some of her finest hits from across all six records, including ‘Vice’, ‘Kerosene’, ‘Mama’s Broken Heart’, ‘Gunpowder & Lead’ and ‘Automatic’. Most of her set was upbeat inviting the audience to dance and sing along, however even when it came ballads such as’The House That Built Me’, or the sombre ‘Over You’ people were still quietly singing along but being far more attentive and respectful., while Miranda showed her more vulnerable side.
There were a few surprises along the way, the first being Lambert’s backing singer Gwen Sebastian taking centre stage to deliver a superb rendition of her own track ‘Cadillac’. She is immensely talented and is definitely one to watch. Towards the end of the show we were treated to a duet, Miranda invited boyfriend and fellow musician Anderson East onto the stage to perform a stripped down version of ‘Getaway Driver’ – a track they wrote together alongside Natalie Hemby for Weight Of These Wings. She was beaming with happiness as they sung together their voices in perfect harmony. It was a real highlight for many fans I think and was a moment we’re unlikely to see again, which made it that extra bit special. We saw the vulnerable side earlier in the evening but it wasn’t until ‘Tinman’ in the encore where her delicate vocals were really on display. With only an acoustic guitar for company she managed to convey a tearjerker of a song in perhaps its rawest form and for me, this was the ultimate highlight.
Despite the controversy from the Glasgow show a couple of nights prior to London where a band member got booed for being English I hope Lambert realises that the majority of British audiences know how to be respectful and that it doesn’t put her off playing shows here in the future.