The title of this makes it sound much more exciting than it is. We’re bunkered up in my dressing room at The Hydro on the final night of C2C….(one of the tour managers was audibly surprised that we had one..we assume he thought we media types should just lurk around in the corridors)…..which is really a small box with a couch and a table. As well as hosting conversations across the water on Friday and Saturday we’ve been trying to corner one or two of the artists for conversations on this last day.
Looking back it’s been another spectacularly successful weekend. C2C Glasgow has hosted a wide range of artists from different schools within country and the audience have welcomed all of them to their hearts. It’s been lovely to watch people see and hear songs performed live for the first time here in Scotland and see them being received with genuine joy. I walked around the venue as Kelsea Ballerina was in full flow to see groups of different women singing along to every word and later that evening enjoyed the Tim ‘n’ Faith Soul to Soul show and discovered, to my amazement, neither had ever visited Scotland before!
It was a weekend of firsts. First time in the big venue, first time for the new Spotlight Stage which, after a few teething problems, worked very well as an acoustic platform for a few breaking acts and, for me, the first time I’d been aware of such a diverse array of covers. We heard Tom Petty‘s American Girl by Midland, Ashley Campbell covering Gentle on My Mind and Faith and Tim open their set with George Michael‘s ‘I Knew You Were Waiting For Me. Believe me we were surprised too!
Highlights? There were many. Though some people moaned about The Hydro, the majority enjoyed the bigger atmosphere and all round excitement and scope it brought to the festival. A nice addition was the record shop in the foyer where acoustic sessions were taking place. Musically Midland, Margo Price, Brett Young, Morgan Evans, Ryan Kinder, Kelsea Ballerini were all highlights. Faith and Tim in all honestly battered my senses a little. I’ve never seen the need for 5 guitarists in any band and the sound engineer decided he needed to turn it all up and it became a bit of a sound war for me. Later on it settled down and Tim McGraw himself delivered a gorgeous few hits of which, Lori McKenna‘s Humble and Kind proved to be one of the best moments. If there’s been a more complete performance this weekend than Little Big Town I haven’t seen it. They gave us everything….honesty and passion in delivery and real light and shade too. Coming out of Little White Church and onto the acoustic stage at the back of the arena was a clever move and they really showed off their musicality with four voices and two guitars in that short segment.
The Glasgow audience loved Luke Combs and Kip Moore though duties elsewhere meant I wasn’t able to catch all of them and this leads me to remark on something we, the punters, and the artists all seem to agree on. The Scottish audience are a delight. Loud and vocal when they needed to be but respectful and listening when required. Full marks people.
Since writing most of the above I have enjoyed two wonderful conversations with Sugarland..and I caught a good bit of their excellent show on Sunday…and Kacey Musgraves. I’m probably in a minority here and don’t all shout at me at once…but I really did think Kacey’s set had so much of what I was hoping for. Intelligent, crafted and sung and played with impeccable precision and economy; it was the most enjoyable thing I have seen in a long while. Perhaps too it was helped by her band playing with the restraint required to help her FOH sound person get a beautiful sound-balance which proved you really can sound great at The Hydro. People will now begin to assault me on why Kacey isn’t a headliner etc (I’ve already had a twitter battle) and there are some reasonable arguments here…but, and this is a big but…. Kacey will never be what she cannot be and, for me given how good the material and the voice is, concentrating on delivering songs impeccably with great humour, warmth and musical intelligence is all she needs to do. And yes…I did hear her dedication and yes…there is now a big picture of her on my bedroom wall.
On this Tuesday’s AC we’ll play out many of the songs which got us excited over the weekend, share some great acoustic sessions from Brett Young, Lukas Nelson and Midland and, inevitably share all that’s best in country. Join me live this coming Tuesday night on BBC Radio Scotland FM from five past nine.