After a successful tour last Summer favourites Charles Esten, Clare Bowen, Sam Palladio and Chris Carmack returned to British shores, and this time they were joined by Jonathan Jackson who plays Avery on the show.
Due to popular demand the stars are playing bigger venues this year – including the prestigious Royal Albert Hall in London. I caught them at Birmingham’s Barclaycard Arena on the opening night of the tour.
Following the same format as the previous tour the stars took it in turns to perform a few songs each. All the actors are musicians in their own right and have been lucky enough to work with some of the top writers in music city – Most of them now have solo or band projects outside of the show.
Kicking off the show to huge cheers from the arena was Charles Esten with his original song ‘Buckle Up‘ before handing over to Chris Carmack to perform the Will Lexington classic ‘What If I Was Willing’ alongside ‘Spinning Revolver’. I was blown away by the new addition to the tour Johnathan Jackson – He really does know how to put on a performance. Opting to take on a cover of U2’s ‘Love Rescue Me’, he gained a massive amount of admiration from the crowd in the process. Having Jonathan on the bill meant I finally got to hear ‘Borrow My Heart’ live performed with Clare and Sam. If you don’t recognise the song they formed a trio called The Triple Exes’s back in season three and sung it at a festival. Anyway Cornwall native Sam Palladio took to the stage telling the audience “it’s good to be home” before a rendition of fan favourite ‘I Will Fall‘. As a quick side note, oh I do wish he hadn’t bleached his hair. I’m curious to know if he’s done as part of an upcoming storyline or something though. We’ll have to wait and see on that one. Where’s Scarlett you may be wondering? We had to wait a little bit Longer (no pun intended) for Clare Bowen to come out and dazzle us with her gratitude and sweet voice. She duetted with her talented fiancé Brandon Robert Young on a song from the show ‘ Longer‘ before debuting her new original track ‘Little By Little’ for the first time live. An early highlight of the concert was the cast covering the late David Bowie song ‘Heroes‘ – making it their own, it was met with approval from the audience.
After a short interval the show was back in full swing with ‘If It’s Love’ sung by Chris and Sam before Johnathan returned to the stage to cover ‘The Killing Moon’ originally by Echo & The Bunnymen – Jonathan has his own band back in the US and I’d hoped we’d hear some of his original stuff, sadly it was not meant to be. As we discovered at last years show Sam’s Grandad served as a fighter pilot in the war – his track ‘Wake Me Up In Nashville’ tells the story of how his Grandad didn’t get to say goodbye to his girlfriend who was from Nashville, as the train conductor forgot to wake him up as they passed through on the way to Canada. The touching track is one I’ll never tire of hearing. I have to say I also throughly enjoyed ‘Hello Heartbreak Blues’ and I’m looking forward to hearing his debut album. It was an all round fantastic show but hands down the highlight was ‘Black Roses‘ I cannot tell you how long I’ve waited to hear Clare sing that live on British shores. As ever she didn’t disappoint and I’m pretty sure the crowd agreed as they sung along with her. I doubt it’d be a Nashville concert without the classic song from the show ‘Fade Into You’ – both Sam and Clare delicately delivered this one and it was a delight. The encore included ‘One More Song‘ and the stunningly beautiful ‘A Life That’s Good‘. Oh and while we’re on the subject of ‘A Life That’s Good’ Lennon and Maisy need to join this tour at some point preferably sooner rather than later. They’d go down a storm. I’ll leave my request here.
The Nashville stars are a genuine, talented bunch of individuals. It’s really not hard to see how they’ve gained fans across the globe. The fans brought back the show after all and it’s pretty clear they’ll be singing along for quite some time yet.