C2C London, day 1

An electric atmosphere, smiling country music fans, outstanding music... What more could you wish for from a country music gig. Walking a round the 02 is an experience in itself during these gigs. Thousands of country fans, including many British Country a music artists, all here for the same thing - to see the superstars!

It is extremely rewarding to see some of the UK's best acts being celebrated and share on pop up stages around the arena. We truly have some fabulous acts in the UK. The only difficulty is deciding which stage to visit as there is so much going on!

We started off by seeing a good friend of ours Mr Gary Quinn, joined by Luke Thomas on guitar. Being on the 02 stage, this is the first stage that people will see as they go in to the venue. Gary has a magnificent voice and with Luke on guitar they are a great pair. Gary writes some beautiful songs  and is definitely one of our top acts. 

Following Gary, we went to see the Diablos on the Armadillo stage. These are a very talented five piece band with a great traditional country sound. They are very popular on the British Country Music circuit, and it is clearly obvious why. 

We then made our way to see the multi award winning Raintown in the Town Square, Paul and Claire are brilliant, such an energy and presence on stage - electric!

Back to the 02 stage to see the beautiful Carolynne. This lady has a stunning country voice and with the incredibly talented Darren Binns accompanying her, they were brilliant. 

In the Town Centre, we had the return of Striking Matches. Wow! I cannot reiterate how talented and brilliant this duo are, already excited to see them again tomorrow. 

Thorne Hill, a face that has been shown frequently on the. Smith and Rogers Country Show, gave a fantastic show on the. Armadillo Stage. A lovely voice!

A very positive, unique experience to see Stevie Agnew back on the 02 stage. This man has a gorgeous, deep country voice, however can show off what a great range he has. With a superb guitarist with him and a wonderful young lady to duet with, an enjoyable set to watch. 

 Over to the Brooklyn Bowl stage to see McKay. I have known Tim since he first started on the circuit and it has been great to see him grow!  The McKay Band shows how far he has come and how brilliantly he is doing.  Tim was joined by Henry, Nick, Milo,  Arthur and Jack to create a great party atmosphere.  A brilliant set!


After an awesome afternoon walking around the Town Square and appreciating the talent of the pop up stages,  it was time for the main event.  

BBC's Bob Harris introduced the event emphasising that country music in the UK is going from strength to strength.  

The evening started with the magnificent Martina McBride.  She is a queen of country music. Treating us to her classics 'Wild Angels',  'My Baby Loves Me',  'Concrete Angel', and tracks from her new album 'Everlasting', including 'Suspicious Minds' and 'By Special Request'. This woman has an exceptional voice and this was clear with 'Broken Wings' and 'Independence Day'.  Goosebumps!      

Dierks Bentley was next to entertain us.  What a guy! Great voice and personality,  really getting involved with the audience- even bringing a member of the audience on stage to join in with 'Lot of Leaving Left to Do'. He treated us to new songs from his new album 'Riser' as well as great covers such as 'Hey Brother'  and for an extra special treat, a one off cover of 'Wish You Were Here'  by Pink Floyd. It is obvious that Dierks is very sentimental,  keeping the same pick up truck for 20 years and the same guitar.  He sings about it in a song he wrote with Brett James,  'I Hold On'. This passion is portrayed in his show,  so much energy,  brilliant!


Reunited,  The Dixie Chicks returned to London.  Opening with 'The Long Way Around',  immediately the talent of these three ladies shone.  Martie,  Emily and Natalie have an awesome sound using a variety of instruments including banjo,  fiddle,  mandolin,  rhythm guitar,  electric guitar,  as well as their fantastic harmonies. Playing their classics 'Landslide',  'Goodbye Earl', 'Sin Wagon',  'Wide Open Spaces'  additionally covering Miles Cyrus' 'Wrecking Ball'. So glad they are back with us!

Tonight we had a surprise viewing of the new Johnny Cash video.  An unreleased album of his was found by John Carter Cash and restored ready for release on the 31st March and a world premiere of the video of 'She Used To Love Me A Lot' was had tonight at the 02. Awesome!

A band that literally needed no introduction, 'Whiskey' s Gone' really got the party started. The Zac Brown Band are just the best! Consisting of some of the world's top musicians,  Zac is joined by John,  Jimmy,  Daniel,  Coy, Clay,  Chris and Matt.  We were greeted with  a buzzing atmosphere from the first beat. 'Jump Right In',  'As She's Walking Away', 'Knee Deep', an awesome instrumental and amazing covers such as Metallica's 'Enter Sandman' were fabulous! The band have recently worked with the superb Dave Grohl and have recently  released the Grohl Sessions.  They gave us a taster of the album with songs such as Day For The Dead and Let It Rain. Plus the fantastic encore of Devil Went Down To Georgia with glow in the dark skeletons.  Incredible!

An absolutely brilliant day.  Let's see what tomorrow brings. 


Becky,  Grand Union Gig Guide 

Pictures to follow. 

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